Originally published October 26 2014
Earth was almost blasted back into the Dark Ages by a near-miss solar flare
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) The power of the sun emanates with precision, sustaining life on Earth in a tedious balance of heat and light. What would it take to disturb this balance? Are the actions in the grand universe like clockwork, are they random or are they intentional? Do the collective actions of people living on Earth reap reactions from outer space? How easy could the sun's relationship with Earth turn violent, with uncontrollable, destructive solar flares coming straight toward Earth?
In 2012, everything that humans took for granted about the sun nearly turned on them. On July 23, 2012, NASA confirmed that a plasma cloud rocketed away from the sun as fast as 3,000 km/s. At four times the speed of a normal coronal mass ejection, the 2012 fast ball missed Earth at speeds of 1,800 mph. NASA scientists confirm that this solar flare could have blasted Earth
back into the Dark Ages if it would have arrived just one week sooner.
Solar storm one week late from wiping out electricity and GPS communications across the planetIf the solar storm blast would have been facing the Earth, which it was just a week earlier, then everything humans know about the 21st century would have blacked out. A direct hit would have resulted in widespread power outages, destroying any appliance plugged into a wall and also wiping out all GPS communications. The catastrophe would have buried entire economies, amassing $2 trillion or more in damages. NASA figured the financial damages would be equivalent to 20 hurricane Katrina's.
And NASA scientists confirmed that, if the blast would have occurred just one week earlier, then it would have been aimed directly at Earth. The blast was one week late from hitting Earth head on. Just think: motion pictures would have gone blank; radio broadcasts would have went silent; people dependent on GPS navigation would be wandering around lost. Hospital equipment would have gone to battery mode, and computers would have faded to black. That kind of energy smacking Earth could even take out transformers on the power grids. Many residential running water supplies would have come to a halt, since several of these systems rely largely on electricity.
"If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," said Daniel Baker, of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado. "I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did. If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire."
Baker was joined by colleagues from NASA who validated the one-week solar flare miss that could have disabled "everything that plugs into a wall socket." The NASA scientists were able to confirm the potential damages because a spacecraft loaded with monitoring equipment was struck by the solar flare in outer space. The solar storm wiped out the spacecraft's communication system and power.
Future coronal mass ejections would do more than just wipe out telegraph lines So is it possible to create better infrastructure for both electricity and communication to avoid the destructive effects of future solar flares? The world may not be as lucky the next time the sun shoots out another one of its solar flare fast balls.
Solar flares have hit Earth in the past, but in those times, economies and societal infrastructure didn't rely on things like GPS communications and electricity like it does today. Back in 1859, a solar storm was documented and described as the "Carrington Event" after being witnessed by the English astronomer Richard Carrington. After viewing the initial solar flare, Carrington watched during the following days as coronal mass ejections hit the earth. The spectacle lit up the sky, as displays of the Northern Lights were seen as far south as Cuba. Back then, the damage was taken out on telegraph lines, setting fire to some telegraph offices. If the ejections were on target today, the damage would impact almost everyone on the planet. The entire infrastructure of electricity, water and communication would be blasted. No one would know what to do as cities erupt in panic.
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