An enormous sunspot region is spinning into view on the surface of the Sun, the largest seen in many years. Out of nowhere, it appeared over the eastern limb and likely caused a gasp or two as it appeared into view. For those who understand the potential ramifications of solar power, ‘the power of the Sun’, we wonder if the next enormous sunspot could become a repeat of the 1859 Carrington Event – a sunspot region which produced a massive solar flare and Coronal Mass Ejection which if it had occurred today – would no doubt send us back into the stone age.
From a disaster and risk-awareness point of view, a Carrington type flare from the Sun is one of the handful of disaster scenarios that truly cause deep concern for a worst-case-scenario. Unfortunately most people do not understand the technical aspect of such an event, and therefore do not understand and are not aware of the risk and resultant chaos if such an event were to occur.
To sum it up in a very general way, what would happen would be close to the following…
A huge sunspot region would appear on the Sun, and would rotate across the surface until it is directly facing the Earth.
A massive X30+ solar flare and massive CME would explode from the sunspot region and hurl an unimaginable glob of electromagnetic energy towards the Earth.
The Earth’s magnetic shield would not be able to hold back the energy which would invisibly slam into power lines all across the world (after already having destroyed the orbiting Satellites).
Many or most of the electrical power grids would fail as countless transformers blow up all across the planet as the electrically induced currents of the CME overwhelm the capacity of the systems.
The rest of the story rapidly descends into massive human chaos as huge portions of power grid systems are doomed to failure for perhaps years, while at the same time many of the electronic systems are blown out including satellites, communication systems, and the financial system of commerce.
I’m not a nuke activist, but one of the scariest results of this scenario (other than mass chaos from millions of desperate people) would be the high number of nuclear power plants that would probably melt down after their emergency generator’s fuel ran out as the fuel distribution channels collapse, eventually exposing millions to deadly radiation.
You can question nearly any scientist and they will agree that there is no doubt that a Carrington event will occur again, and some believe that we may be overdue for such an event. The last time it occurred, THERE WAS NO POWER GRID. Today, our lives absolutely depend upon it. Think about it…
As the massive sunspot ‘AR1339’ rotates towards facing the Earth, we can only hope that this is not ‘the one’. We will find out for sure during the next week or two as it transits across the Earth-facing surface of the Sun. Don’t forget, we’re approaching the present solar-cycle maximum which is due to peak in 2012 – 2013.
Are you prepared? It certainly would be a near impossible task to do all the things necessary to assure your survival through such an event, but hopefully you will do your own research to discover that this threat is real, and hopefully it will cause some of you to take the first steps to being more prepared than you are today.
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