Right Now, Today – Fear the Sun!
Meet sunspot group AR1890. It’s very dangerous!
Yesterday, it produced a nasty X3 flare and CME. X-class are the most deadly type of solar storm.
Right this minute, it is swinging into position, taking direct aim at our humble planet.
Be afraid. Be very afraid!
Massive AR1890 is one of the biggest groups so far this sunspot cycle. Maybe the biggest.
According to NOAA’s Spaceweather.com it “has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong eruptions.” Already we’ve seen the X3.
More than likely it won’t erupt while aimed directly at us. Massive sunspot groups like that rarely do. But if it does, it could have devastating global consequences.
You see, X-class solar flares and CMEs are the greatest world-wide threat that earthlings face on an ongoing basis.
Yesterday’s X3 Solar Flare
The highest quality video is found at Helioviewer high-definition X3 solar flare of 11/6/2013 (766w X 862h). It’s well worth the watch!!
That one wasn’t pointed at Earth. The next one will be if it happens in the next few days.
NASA classifies X-class solar flares as the most dangerous. Their effects can last for days.
X-class flares have the potential to damage satellites and subject orbiting astronauts to life-threatening radiation bursts. They disrupt polar airline traffic and can even trigger large-scale blackouts lasting hours or days on earth’s already overloaded electric power grids.
Induced currents can be large enough to shutdown global communications, start fires, burn-up giant transformers and destroy unprotected electronics all around the world.
All these things have happened numerous times before. They will happen again.
The probability of that happening in the next several days is elevated. It will remain elevated until dangerous sunspot group AR1890 drifts past us.
Understanding the Solar Threat
Six views of the X3 solar flare of 11/6/2013
To better understand the sun a small army of spacecraft monitor it 24 hours a day.
Here are several views of yesterday’s X3 flare shown at various wavelengths and recorded by multiple orbiting observatories. The flare and CME are near the end of each 20 second clip. They can be copied and pasted into separate tabs to view full screen for more detail.
The videos show how the sun fires off CME’s like a cannon shot and, depending on wavelength, shows the energy level and direction of the ejected charged particles.
Observations at different wavelengths with different instruments on different spacecraft greatly enhance our understanding of the sun’s behavior and how flares and CMEs work.
Great strides have been made in short-term forecasting of flares and CMEs and their likely strength. Today, the forecast is for a 10% chance of X-class flares.
That means there is a 1 in 10 chance earth will take a direct hit from a massive X-class flare! Of course, it would take 1-3 days to get here.
Countless times since time immemorial dangerous sunspot groups have silently drifted in front of earth without dangerous X-class solar storms erupting.
Chances are good the same will happen again this time to.
The long-term prognosis for globe altering X-class flares and CME’s is decreasing. For unknown reasons, sunspot magnetic field strength has been on the decline for several decades.
But, for the moment, that’s all in the future.
For the next several days the earth is staring into the maw of a global, unpreventable CME catastrophe. Luck is all that will spare us.
So… for today… be afraid. Be very afraid!
Posted on Nov 7, 2013, in Climate, climate change, economics, Energy, environment, Government, nature, news, Opinion, Politics, science, space, Sun, sunspots, technology. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.