Survival-Pax Blog: Solar Flare Misses Earth

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Solar Flare Misses Earth

So, as some of you may know, a large Solar Flare narrowly missed the Earth earlier this week. This may not seem like big news, and it really wasn't, but if the flare had impacted Earth, the story would have been different.

What is a Solar Flare?

A Solar Flare is a burst of electromagnetic radiation and high energy particles from the surface of the sun out towards space. The electromagnetic radiation in the form of x-rays can reach the Earth in a few minutes, and generally does not cause many problems. The high energy particles, however, can take days to reach the Earth and when they reach it, can destroy satellites, spacecraft. These particles can also disrupt power delivery from power plants, effectively causing blackouts for days, weeks or even months! Can you imagine what would happen if your city was out of power for a month?



Watch the video to see how the Solar Flare looked like when it erupted from the surface of the sun.

The last massive Solar Flare happened in 1859, when the world was much less technologically advanced. People were able to see auroras world-wide and telegraph communication was interrupted for weeks. Now imagine what would happen if that flare had hit the Earth today?
Auroras may look pretty, but seeing one followed by a
massive power outage probably wouldn't be.

How to prepare?

A folding knife or flashlight probably won't help you very much. If a massive Solar Flare were to impact the Earth and knock out a large portion of satellite communications and power to much of the United States, I would say that that's about as bad a disaster as I can imagine happening. You can expect a situation where society would quickly break down as people's food goes bad in the refrigerator, as their jobs are unavailable due to lack of power, as they have to live in the dark. It would be like throwing a wrench into the gears of society and everything would stop.

The best way to prepare for such a HUGE disaster would be to have a large stockpile of food (at least 6 months), water, possibly a backup generator. Basically, you would want to make yourself as self-sufficient as possible, since society would not be able to support you for the near future. While a massive Solar Flare impacting the Earth isn't likely to happen at any given moment, the possibility of one happening is there and the results would be catastrophic if it did happen. It really is only a matter of time until it does happen.

Take care!

Simon - Survival-Pax Team Member

Sources Used:
PCMag. Massive Solar Flare Misses Earth, but Are We Ready for the Big One?
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2386623,00.asp

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