Here’s one they can’t blame on “human activity”! This is just the intro of a much longer article published in the Seattle Blog section of the Seattle PI online newspaper. There is a fantastic slide show of 17 photos. This might be a good time to check out Steve’s survival tips and stock up on basic supplies. -LTG
(Click image for a larger view) A solar flare in 2002.
The last time the sun erupted into a massive solar storm, the year was 1859. Northern Lights appeared over Cuba and Hawaii, and electrical currents from the blast set telegraph offices on fire.
But that was then. Scientists and government officials are worried a modern-day solar storm of the same proportion could wreak havoc on Earth, crippling communications and paralyzing power grids.
Massive solar storms, resulting in huge coronal mass ejections, usually happen just before the sun goes through a quiet phase. NASA officials announced earlier this week that we’re poised to enter a below-average solar cycle soon, giving weight to concerns about how Earth would weather a solar storm like the one that happened in 1859.
“A similar storm today might knock us for a loop,” said NASA physicist Lika Guhathakurta in a prepared statement. “Modern society depends on high-tech systems such as smart power grids, GPS, and satellite communications–all of which are vulnerable to solar storms.”