According to reports during the past several days from SpaceWeather.com, during 1-Aug-2010, something extraordinary happened on the Sun and sunspot 1092. The occurrence is yet another wake up call that the upcoming 2012 – 2013 solar maximum could be a big one, one we’ve never experienced alongside the vulnerable electronic technologies that exist today.
After a period of quiet years, the sun has begun to produce more sunspots which have been firing off solar flares and CME’s (coronal mass ejection). The National Center for Atmospheric Research has indicated that this coming solar cycle maximum could be 30% to 50% more active than the previous one, and could be comparable to the 1958 solar cycle maximum when auroras were frequently seen as far south as Mexico. Back then we had none of the vulnerable technology that is common today, and in fact, the United States had only just launched its very first satellite into space. Think about it.
During August 1, a complex solar eruption occurred, one which had characteristics that we have not seen before.
(SpaceWeather.com) On August 1st, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more.
Seeing the sun erupt on such a global scale has galvanized the international community of solar physicists. Researchers are still sorting out the complex sequence of events and trying to understand why they all happened at once.
Evidently the 11-year solar cycle period also follows an approximate 40-year cycle which produces higher levels of solar activity due to the way that the solar conveyor works.
Similar to how the Earth’s ocean conveyor currents work, so do similar currents work on the Sun, except with gases which flow from the poles to the equator and back again.
The conveyor sweeps the surface of the sun and picks up any ‘worn out’ geomagnetic regions (decaying sunspots) and pulls them down from the poles deep into the sun where they are re-energized, become buoyant and float back up to the surface.
The speed of the solar conveyor varies. One loop, or cycle takes 30 to 50 years. The conveyor was moving fast between 1986 and 1996 while it captured more geomagnetic activity than usual. This activity was swept up during that time and is expected to reappear during this solar cycle in the form of greater sunspot activity.
Regarding the recent activity on the sun during 1-Aug-2010, the fact that the numerous solar events occurred all at once during one day, along with the fact that so much of the sun’s surface was affected, is enough evidence to cause alarm. Alarm in the sense that should major events occur during this upcoming solar cycle, our present untested technology (and way of life) may be at risk. We need to get our noses out of our Blackberries and iPhones long enough to realize what is going on in the real world.
Our technology is vulnerable. Be prepared.
NASA Science News for Dec. 13, 2010
A global eruption on the sun has shattered old ideas about solar activity. Researchers presented their surprising findings at a press conference today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
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