That was interesting to read about the 1859 event. I wonder why most science sites don't even reference it anymore? I did say "reportedly measured" solar flares or else old science websites wouldn't say stuff like this: "The space-weather records set in the fall of 2003 included: The largest X-ray solar flare ever recorded. The fastest-moving solar storm ever. It splashed over us at nearly 6 million mph. The hottest storm ever. It was tens of millions of degrees as it doused Earth. The record solar storms that erupted in late October and early November, 2003, particularly the largest X-ray flare ever recorded, threatened power systems on the planet's surface and communications and weather satellites in orbit above Earth." I've read similar on NASA's website, but yet the solar storm in 1859 seemed to be the largest ever known. Ya know, there is no telling what the largest really was, since it most likely happened in ancient history and we obviously didn't have the means to scientifically measure such things, back then. I just thought it was funny, that a flare nowhere near as big as the one nearly 9 years ago, hits the media like we are on the brink of pandemonium or something.
My brother and I were listening to the news earlier today and when he heard about this latest phenomenon, he responded the same way he always does when something big is going on: "See, the Mayans were right."
I am getting bally tired of the news media's short-term memory. We have had a TON of large solar flares in the last year or so as the sun gears up for solar max in 2013, enough for them to learn that:
1. The sun is very large. 2. Despite how it looks in the sky, it is 3 dimensional. It is round. 3. So solar flares can erupt in any direction, like a rotating sprinkler. 4. So we only really have to worry about the ones aimed at the earth, or rather, at the spot where the earth will be in a day or so.
And if they'd really dug down deep, they'd have learned that usually a CME splashes off the earth's magnetosphere and gets shunted towards the poles. CMEs are tough on satellites and the space station, but the ground is usually better protected. It takes an unusual set of circumstances to knock out the power grid and cause ground disruptions: a very large flare, aimed squarely at us, perpendicular to the earth's lines of force so it manages to clobber its way through our shielding. Then we may be in trouble on the scale of the 1859 Carrington Flare. Of course, it doesn't have to be that big to cause local grid disruptions; ask Quebec.
We COULD get smackerooed. Sooner or later, we will be -- it's happened before, after all. But I will save my doom and gloom predictions for one that scientists describe as "appears to be aimed squarely at us" rather than "glancing blow."
ETA: oh, drat, this forecast differs from those I saw earlier today, which said glancing blow. Well, okay, maybe this is one of those we need to worry about. I'm still a little skeptical, as that article claims the sun has been relatively quiet lately. There have been new big flares every month or so lately ... I can tell the instant they smack into the media magnetosphere, because my solar flare hub's traffic spikes.
The way things are so exaggerated and hyped-up during this grand year of 2012 doom, a simple firework exploding in the sky, may count for an aurora nowadays. Hold on a second, I still got some fireworks from last year! Okay... I'm about to light up the sky... Shhhhhhh... Pow! There ya go; yeah, I seen one...
A short while ago tonight I scanned an article that said "Dramatic solar flare [Tuesday, June 7] could disrupt Earth communications [Wednesday, June 8]."Recently I have been trying to research as much as I can...
Do you think there is a connection between sunspots/solar flares and the stock market as science is discovering? The sun has been very active recently, so has the stock market....how can we understand this connection...