Our little planet faces many poorly understood perils from beyond
Photograph by: Associated Press, NASA , London Daily Telegraph, The Associated Press
Considering the dangers lurking out there, it’s a wonder that our little planet is not in the firing line more often. We are just 150 million kilometres from a star that, while mostly well-behaved, occasionally has temper tantrums that could bring our civilization to its knees. Our solar system is home to a swarm of comets, rocks, boulders and flying mountains, tens of thousands of which are big enough to wipe out anything from a small city to the entire biosphere. And further out lurk delinquent stars whose death explosions are the largest since the Big Bang. If one of these went off nearby, it would be curtains for all of us.
In fact, Earth can be considered rather lucky to have not suffered a total cataclysm in at least 3.5 billion years – the period during which we have an unbroken record of life existing on the Earth’s surface. Before then, global sterilization events, caused by collisions with huge space rocks, almost Read more…
WASHINGTON – 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 it 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 Read more…
Something is up with the sun. It has begun to behave very erratically, and scientists don’t know quite what to make of it. Sunspot activity appears to be slowing down with each new cycle and absolutely gigantic holes have started to appear in the sun. At the moment, the sun is approaching the peak of its 11 year cycle, and an increasing number of scientists are becoming concerned about what the next cycle will bring. If sunspot activity continues to diminish, could the sunspot cycle eventually die altogether? Is it possible that we could be approaching another ice age? Even worse, could the increasingly erratic behavior of the sun be an indication that the sun is dying? Traditionally, scientists have taught that the sun won’t die until billions of years from now, but in recent years astronomers have observed stars similar to our own sun suddenly begin to behave very erratically and then Read more…
A solar “superstorm” could knock out Earth’s communications satellites, cause dangerous power surges in the national grid and disrupt crucial navigation aids and aircraft avionics, a major report has found.
It is inevitable that an extreme solar storm – caused by the Sun ejecting billions of tonnes of highly-energetic matter travelling at a million miles an hour – will hit the Earth at some time in the near future, but it is Read more…
A solar flare drowned out radio communications on Earth on February 2. The relatively “tiny” sun spot erupted into a moderately sized Class-C coronal mass ejection. The sound of the waves created by the solar flare cloaked radio waves between 28MHz and 21.1 MHz.
The voices going across the impacted radio signals appeared to be “swallowed” by the solar flare, Wired notes. NASA JOVE project radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft noted how interesting the sound was as the wave from the coronal mass ejection (CME) rolled through.
SOLAR WATCH: Monster Sunspot 1654 Aims Our Way – Earthquake Window Opening As Coronal Mass Ejections To Hit Earth On Thursday!
January 15, 2013 – THE SUN – Simulations of a coronal mass ejection (CME) show the impact arrival of such on January 17th. This coincides with Senior Meteorologist Kevin Martin’s window for an earthquake in North America. The Sun is acting up again, with large sunspots moving across the solar disk. The sunspots are powerful enough for x-class solar flares, the most powerful of them all.
|Image: The Weather Space Network.|
While a 10% chance is now given for such a flare, one is already on the way. This should impact on January 17th and Read more…