ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Will There Really Be Three Days Of Total Darkness Next Month?

Updated on November 5, 2014
jjheathcoat profile image

J.J. is a freelance researcher, writer, and editor. They love science, history, and "weirdness". Oh, and gaming. Lots of gaming.

Sun as seen by the Soft X-Ray Telescope aboard satellite Yohkoh.
Sun as seen by the Soft X-Ray Telescope aboard satellite Yohkoh. | Source

Ah, our Sun. For thousands of years it's inspired awe, confusion, and fear in the hearts and minds of many a civilization. Today is no different. It seems every year there comes an influx of wild theories and predictions for what the Sun is going to do to us this time.

Recently, a series of infographics (or should we call them disinfographics) claiming NASA confirmed 3 days of total darkness would be upon us this December. Or was it 6 days? That's one of the biggest signs that you're dealing with a hoax: nobody can seem to get the days straight.

Myth debunking site Snopes has already covered this panic, thoroughly dismissing the ideas as false. In fact, some of the very same graphics warning us of an "impending blackout" were cycling around two years ago during the "Mayan Calendar" and "Planetary Alignment" craze.

So why are they making rounds again this year? Everyone's favorite misunderstood phenomena: Solar Flares.

Solar Flare Classifications

A & B Class: The lowest and most common type. Very common. We don't even notice them.

C Class: Small size. Occasionally create very weak ejections. Barely ever reach Earth.

M Class: Medium size. Can cause small to medium radio disruptions. Very rarely cause auroras.

X Class: Largest size. Can cause heavy radio disruptions. Can cause large aurora activity. Possibility to disturb electrical equipment at highest levels.

What's really going to happen?

As I've already covered before, this year has been the most active year for solar flares in the past 15 years. Between October 19th and 27th alone there were 5 X-class solar flares recorded by NASA. As of November 4th, NASA was tracking a large sunspot known as AR 12192, in an area so large the viewing public could see it during last month's partial eclipse (with the aid of eclipse goggles).

The Sun is picking up in activity, just like it always does around this time in it's cycle. This has been a particularly active cycle compared to the last century or so of cycles, but don't get out your tin-foil hats just yet. The last 100 years have over all been some of the slowest cycles in the history of solar observation, this active cycle included. Even the largest flare recorded this year doesn't come close to the most massive ejection ever recorded. (In fact, NASA says it wouldn't even make a "Top 50" list.)

Chances are we will see continued flares into December. There is always a chance, however small, that the Sun will burp out a truly massive one, but the experts are skeptical. So far we've only seen some increased aurora activity and a faint tickle of disruption to radio waves. But even if a huge flare does eject the result would hardly be the "3-6 DAYS OF TOTAL DARKNESS" that's plastered all over Facebook.

Flares can knock out electric power stations, true. It's happened before. A completely improbable "worldwide disruption" of a flare could have this effect. Even then, the world would not be plunged into darkness as some fear. In fact, increased solar activity produces some pretty awesome light shows in our atmospheres in the form of auroras.


No, the world is not going to go dark any time soon. You can take those graphics and fearful rants off your Facebook wall now.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)