A new and very large sunspot region has launched an awesome X-class solar flare at Earth, triggering low latitude aurora borealis displays as the earth’s magnetic shield struggles to fight off the incoming radiation.
An ‘S3’ class (strong) solar radiation storm is currently underway with a biological risk for passengers flying in aircraft at high latitudes who may become exposed to radiation.
Sunspot 1429 will be directly facing the earth in the days ahead, and will pose a real threat as it has the potential to unleash more X-class flares, the ‘X’ being the largest classification on the solar flare rating scale (A,B,C,M, or X).
Massive solar flares are sometimes associated with Coronal Mass Ejections which can trigger geomagnetic storms that have been known to knock out electric power for extended periods of time.
A CME is currently racing towards earth and will strike a blow very soon, some saying on March 8-9, to an already ‘taxed’ magnetic shield. If sunspot 1429 blows off a large X-class flare in the next few days, the resulting CME ‘could’ be a bigger problem for us here on earth, even bigger than whatever happens on the 8th-9th because the huge sunspot will be firing ‘straight’ at us in a few days.
The sun is predictable in some general ways, such as, we know that as the current solar cycle progresses into it’s maximum later this year 2012 and early next year, that we will encounter more solar flares and their associated risks. What we cannot predict is ‘when’ the big one will fire off. It has happened before and it will happen again. That is, a solar flare event like the Carrington event of 1859.
Scientists agree that a Carrington type event will surely send us (shove us) back to an era before electricity, and will be devastating for 10’s of millions (billions?) of us here on earth who will perish due to a massive dependence upon modern day systems. Here is a preview how solar flares threaten power systems and what would happen without power and electricity.
Stay tuned to Modern Survival Blog for updates, should this sunspot region hurl a devastating CME our way over the next few days… Are you prepared to live life without electricity? Hopefully this one won’t harm us to that degree, but, one of these days…
(@ Otter and Frank, thx for the heads-up)
Right at midnight UT time the active region 1429 unleashed a powerful X5.4-class solar flare. X-class flares are the strongest of the flares. The following is a video of the solar flare and CME eruption from the NASA SDO YouTube channel.
The largest solar flare in five years is racing toward Earth, threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights. They say [Space Weather Prediction Center] the flare is growing as it speeds outward from the sun.
“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
…scientists are waiting to see what happens Thursday when the charged particles hit Earth at 4 million mph.
The magnetic part of the storm has the potential to trip electrical power grids. Kunches said power companies around the Earth have been alerted for possible outages. The timing and speed of the storm determines whether it will knock off power grids, he said.
Source: WASHINGTON (AP)