News Stories

Sun Storms May Become Stronger

New research suggests solar storms could become more disruptive within decades, affecting things from cell phones to airplanes and spacecraft. In BBC News, Judith Burns quotes space physicist Mike Lockwood was saying, "All the evidence suggests that the Sun will shortly exit from a grand solar maximum that has persisted since before the start of the space age.

"In a grand solar maximum, the peaks of the 11-year sunspot cycle are larger and the average number of solar flares and associated events such as coronal mass ejections are greater. On the other hand, in a grand solar minimum there are almost no sunspots for several decades. The last time this happened was during the Maunder Minimum, between about 1650 and 1700." This is also known as the Little Ice Age.

Burns quotes Lockwood as saying, "You can tell by the concentration of nitrates in ice sheets that there has been a solar event. What we showed was that they all cropped up at more middling activity than we have been used to. We used this data to say that an unfortunate combination of solar conditions is coming our way in the next few decades. It's just a question of how much worse the radiation gets and how long it lasts."

WHO KNOWS what will happen in the future, especially when that dreaded date of December 21, 2012 arrives? Sometimes a novel can tell you more than nonfiction, and Whitley Strieber's novel "2012" is one of these. You can get it from the Whitley Strieber Collection, and it will come with an autographed bookplate that was designed by Whitley!

It's amazing that the U.S. has done little to prepare for a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun since we know one will hit the earth sooner or later. If we got hit with one as strong as that which hit the earth in 1859, all electricity would be lost. Within 48 hours, there would be no water or gas since both rely on electric pumps. How long can you live without running water? Do you have an independent water source? What the US could do is purchase and store enough generators to replace those connected to the grid which would be fried by a CME. We have failed to do even that much. Check out the book "One Second After" if you're interested in this topic. It's a story about what would happen in the US if a CME or nuclear detonation (EMP) over the US occurred.

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