Sun Is About To Flip Out?

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The sun is about to flip its magnetic field, at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle or at the half-way point of what scientists call a solar maximum – when the star is at its most violent in terms of solar flares and the Earth is most vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse.

That’s the surge of sun energy that scientists say could in an instant return the developed world to an agrarian society, essentially without any electronics, and leave millions dead.

This mid-way point is expected in about four months – a December/January time frame – putting Earth in a position of greatest vulnerability even as the solar maximum diminishes well into 2014.

Scientists for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, have said the sun will reach its most intense period this year and well into next.

Others have suggested that even until 2020 Earth still could be exposed to solar flares that if they hit Earth directly could knock out the U.S. national grid system and fry electronic components and automated control systems not only in the U.S. but in other industrialized countries.

“It looks like we’re no more than three to four months away from a complete field reversal,” according to Todd Hoeksema, director of Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory. “This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”

NASA officials say that as the magnetic field shifts, the “current sheet” which is a surface that radiates billions of kilometers from the sun’s equator, becomes very wavy.

Since Earth orbits the sun, it dips in and out of these waves of the “current sheet.” NASA officials said that the transition from a wave to a dip creates stormy space weather around Earth.

Scientists say that the change also can provide some shielding from dangerous cosmic rays, which are high-energy particles created by supernova explosions and travel at the speed of light of approximately 186,000 miles a second or, to be exact, 299,792,458 meters per second.

 

However, cosmic rays are not the same as the solar flares which spew from dark spots on the sun’s surface.

Indeed, solar flare activity on the sun recently has increased as sun spots begin to shift and are aligned on a direct path toward Earth.

The solar flares create an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, effect that can wipe out electrical grids and communications systems and fry electronics.

Some of these solar flares can be more than 20 times the size of the Earth.

Experts say that Earth experienced the largest recorded direct solar flare in 1859, which is called the Carrington Event. At the time, the only pieces of electrical equipment were the telegraph and the first parts of the trans-Atlantic cable.

The direct hit from the solar flare burned the telegraph wires, creating fires and explosions. The effects felt round the world last for three days. At the time, the trans-Atlantic cable was just being laid but also had to replaced due to the impact of the EMP on the equipment.

Since then, countries have come to be dependent on electricity, electronic components and automated control systems to survive as a society.

Experts say that a Carrington-type EMP event occurs every 100 years. However, it’s been 154 years since that event, making Earth overdue for a similar event but with more catastrophic effects on critical infrastructures due to their dependency on electricity.

A direct hit from the EMP from a solar flare not only would knock out all unprotected electronics but could subject 90 percent of world’s population to starvation and death, particularly in urban areas.

This is due to the fact that all critical infrastructures on which a technological society such as the United States depends would fail in a cascading effect once the grid is knocked out.

These critical infrastructures include telecommunications, financial and banking systems, food and water delivery, emergency services and petroleum deliveries, among others. No cash registers would work, no fuel pumps, no trucks to deliver food, no networks like phone, power and water systems — in essence, a return to an agrarian society.

In addition to the 1859 Carrington event, other notable solar flare-documented EMP events have occurred.

In 1972, a major solar flare knocked out the long-distance phone communications across some states, including Illinois, according to NASA. The event caused AT&T to redesign its power system for transatlantic cables.

In 1989, a powerful solar flare set off a major power blackout in Canada that left six million people without electricity for nine hours, The flare disrupted electric power transmission from the Hydro Quebec generating station and even melted some power transformers in New Jersey.

In 2003, a solar flare initially measured at X28 overwhelmed a spacecraft sensor measuring it. Later analysis revealed that the flare had actually reached a peak strength of X45. That solar storm was part of a string of some nine major flares that had occurred over a two-week period.


Source: wnd.com

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Chunk of Sun Headed Toward Earth at 2 Million Miles an Hour!!!

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Scientists at NASA have released some incredible images revealing an enormous dark hole over our sun.

Corey Powell, Editor of Discover Magazine, joined Bill Hemmer on America’s Newsroom this morning to explain the giant black hole, and what it means for us here on Earth.

“The reason it’s dark is that whole chunk of the sun basically ripped off, blew out and is coming our way at about two million miles an hour,” said Powell.

Well, that doesn’t sound good. Powell explained that this phenomenon happens frequently, but we don’t often see something this large.

He said that when the chunk of the sun hits Earth, it would cause auroras, and would wiggle the magnetic field. The major concern would be potential disruptions to GPS signals and interference with communication satellites and power lines.

Source: foxnewsinsider.com

Monster Sunspot Fires Off Powerful Solar Flares

A huge sunspot that dwarfs the Earth is unleashing a series of powerful solar flares as it moves across the surface of the sun, NASA scientists say. The sunspot AR 1476 was detected by space telescopes on May 5. The huge sunspot is 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across, so large that when it was first seen in views from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, mission scientists dubbed it a “monster sunspot.” Earlier this week, space weather scientists predicted the sunspot would erupt with powerful solar flares, and those predictions have since come true. So far, the sunspot has fired off several flares, including a strong solar storm early Thursday (May 10). “Solar activity has been at high levels for the past 24 hours with multiple M-class solar flares observed,” stated an update Thursday from the Space Weather Prediction Center, a joint service of NOAA and the National Weather Service. Sunspot region AR 1476 was responsible for nearly all of the sun’s storm activity, center officials said.

On Thursday, sunspot AR 1476 unleashed a powerful flare at 12:18 a.m. EDT (0418 GMT) that registered as a class M5.7 eruption. M-class solar flares are medium-strength sun storms that can still unleash powerful blasts of radiation and magnetic solar plasma. So far, the sunspot has not triggered huge explosions from the sun, which scientists call coronal mass ejections. On the scale of solar flares, X-class storms are the most powerful and can interfere with satellites and infrastructure on Earth when aimed at our planet. M-class storms are the second-most powerful flares and can set off geomagnetic storms that create dazzling northern lights displays when the eruptions reach Earth. C-class flares, the weakest category, have little effect on Earth.

NASA officials said the Thursday solar storm is just one of many to erupt from the massive sunspot.

“The sunspot, dubbed Active Region 1476, has so far produced seven M-class flares and numerous C-class flares, including two M-class flares on May 9, 2012 that peaked at 8:32 EDT and 10:08 EDT,” the space agency wrote in a Thursday space weather update.

“These flares were all short-lived and there were no associated coronal mass ejections, so we do not expect any geomagnetic storms at Earth,” NASA officials added. That means a supercharged northern lights display from the recent solar storms is currently unlikely.

Another NASA account stated that the sunspot has unleashed as many as 32 solar flares so far.

It will take sunspot AR 1476 about two weeks to complete its trip across the face of the sun, as seen from Earth, NASA officials said.

The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle. The current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, will peak in 2013. Source – sott.