Author Topic: When space gets a bit /too/ close.  (Read 1190 times)

Hecter94

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When space gets a bit /too/ close.
« on: September 12, 2014, 07:40:01 am »
From one of the other forums I frequent:

Quote
Yesteray, Sun made an X1.6 class flare. Unfortunately, the flare happened right in the center of the visible Sun disk, and the accompanying CME (coronal mass ejection) is heading towards Earth as we speak, and is found to be "strong" one (in relation to the flare class related to it). In other words, billions tons of plasma flies at the speed of several hundreds miles per second towards Earth.

http://www.thecelestialconvergence.com/solar-watch-sunspot-2158-erupts-major-x1-6-solar-flare-strong-earth-facing-cme-g2-geomagnetic-solar-storm-currently-progress/ .

And in general, there are lots of messages about it, and lots of them truncate lots of important details about it. In order not to worry people too much - those people who do not know what powerful CME is capable of, of course. Which is vast majority.

If the data (which i am so far able to get) is correct, the plasma front will hit the Earth tomorrow, Friday, 12th of September, at about 14:00...19:00 GMT (sorry but that's as precise as i am able to get, at this time). This data is from one of sources in my own country, not from above linked page.

One model for the cloud so far reports that Earth will be hit by nearly the center of hte cloud. The other reports it will be a "glancing blow" - however, i am quite sure that many, if not most, of public messages would read "glancing blow", or even wouldn't mention any possible damage at all - even if ALL models would actually predict direct impact. Because panic won't help, and many people in the media know it well. Too little time to do anything global about it, anyways.

Anything similar has only happened as far back in the past as 1859 (iirc). Mankind didn't have thousands of giant electric transformators back then, - ones which are absolutely required for our electric power grids to function; ones which will likely be completely destroyed by induction currents' flow if some strong CME manages to overpower Earth's ionosphere and magnetic field; ones which can't be repaired nor replaced any fast, since there are only few of those big transformators in reserve at any given time - too expensive to have any more in reserve, - and those can't be made in any large quantity any fast. But back then in 1859, mankind already had one significant electric system in use: telegraph. The CME effect on telegraph lines in 1859 was, quote: "... intense geomagnetic storms viewed from the Arctic to Cuba that triggered global telegraph lines to spark, setting fire to some telegraph offices." (from: http://www.dailynewsen.com/politics/a-giant-magnetic-explosion-on-the-sun-h2619744.html ). I can imagine what will happen with massive and thick conductors and transformators several dozens tons heavy (most of it being wires, literally), should similar effect hit the Earth tomorrow.

There is some chance models are wrong, but it's little. There is some chance that this CME and/or plasma distribution within the cloud won't result in strong enough hit in terms of how much of that plasma actually ends up hitting Earth, and as a result of this, the equipment - including those huge transformers, which literally power up our societies, - won't suffer that much, or even at all. Nobody knows right know - for _sure_ - how much of the plasma will end up hitting Earth, nor how intense the peak will be, and whether Earth's magnetic field would be overloaded, or not. Yet there is also quite real chance that tomorrow, more than half of the world will lose its electric grid for months on end.

And if you think it's no big deal - then it means you most likely didn't watch this BBC film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uObV-AJDb98 . Ironically, perhaps tonight is the last chance for you to see it, eh.

P.S. I find myself strangely calm about tomorrow. Even if SHTF... In fact, i'd be even glad if it would. This "modern" "civilization" of ours is quite ugly, anyways. Last few decades, overall, it quite is. Well, we'll know in less than 24 hours whether it'll go on for some more while, or not. In case we'll never communicate after tomorrow, let me wish all of you guys here best of luck, and let your gunpowder never get wet.

Seems pretty interesting, doesn't it?
I wonder what will happen (if anything)

FlessenGreendart

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Re: When space gets a bit /too/ close.
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 10:32:47 am »
I think he may be exaggerating somewhat. We may get some interference on the radios, and satellites could be disrupted, but beyond that, I can't see anything major happening.

Although the Aurora Borealis is going to be visible from further afield, so that might be nice.

Lurler

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Re: When space gets a bit /too/ close.
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 07:33:21 pm »
Aren't these things are also fairly bad for the people as well? I mean the big events such as this that bring additional particle radiation from the sun.

Hecter94

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Re: When space gets a bit /too/ close.
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 05:54:42 am »
I have no idea, to be honest with you.

However, just as an update, the building I work in lost power for most of the day, none of our cell phones could get decent signal either.

So it definitely affected us a bit, though not as much as OP thought it would.