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November 16, 2011

2012: Killer Solar Flares are a Physical Impossibility, Experts Say

Some people worry that a gigantic "killer solar flare" could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth. People believe that 2012 could be coincident with such a flare. The same solar cycle (11 year cycle) has occurred over millennia. Anyone over the age of 11 has lived through such a solar maximum with no harm. There simply isn't enough energy in the sun to send a killer fire ball 93 million miles to destroy Earth. Despite this fact, it is not fair to say that space weather cannot affect our planet. Although the explosive heat of a solar flare can't make it all the way to our globe, electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles certainly can. A coronal mass ejection is another phenomenon that is produced by the sun and can be even more disruptive, propelling hurts of particles and electromagnetic fluctuations into Earth's atmosphere. Those fluctuations could induce electric fluctuations at ground level and blow our transformers in power grids. In an increasingly technological world, space weather is a serious matter. It is a problem the same way hurricanes are a problem; once can protect oneself with advance information and proper precautions. For the full article go to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095550.htm.

Posted by abrod at November 16, 2011 01:27 PM

Comments

Well, at least I can rest better knowing this.

It's also interesting to see how different solar 'weather' can affect our planet, which is why I liked the bit about the coronal mass ejection affecting the planet that way, although I did not know that it was possible for these ejections to affect transformers in power grids because I didn't think it was possible for the electromagnetic fluctuations to reach that far close to the surface. While it does make sense, especially considering the earth's magnetic fields, it is just something I hadn't thought about until now.

Posted by: carmrose at November 21, 2011 09:11 PM

I think it's funny how so many people tie in extreme space/Earth weather events into the "2012 prophecy". Like you said, we've lived through solar maximum's as well as other extreme Earth weather in the past, so if it did happen in 2012, we would be just fine.

The most interesting idea, in my opinion, is the reversal of our magnetic poles. Many doomsday theorists say for an unknown amount of time we may be without an electromagnetic field so we would be at risk for getting killed by solar flares.

However the NASA article clearly lays out, "...while Earth's magnetic field can indeed weaken and strengthen over time, there is no indication that it has ever disappeared completely. A weaker field would certainly lead to a small increase in solar radiation on Earth – as well as a beautiful display of aurora at lower latitudes -- but nothing deadly". Luckily for us this is a common occurrence in our Earth's history. So similar to the "Killer Solar Flare" this is just another silly doomsday scenario that merits little worry.

Posted by: fadmonic at November 30, 2011 11:52 AM

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