What is a Solar Storm? How can it effect our lives? To put it into terms which all of us can understand, a CME (Coronal mass ejection) is an explosion on the Sun which releases huge quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation into space, and can travel into the Earth’s magnetic field – and can cause an unimagined amount of damage.
There have been a number of these events that could have had a severe effect of Earth, most notably being a super solar storm in 2012, which would have caused severe power blackouts on a huge scale. According to Space.com, if the CME occurred only a week earlier, it would have been in the direct part of the Earth’s orbit, and would have wreaked devastating results. Sounds like a movie from American International Pictures starring Vincent Price, right? But don’t think the idea is too outlandish – Solar Storms can occur every day, and powerful ones have caused havoc throughout history. Significant Solar Storms have occurred in 1921, 1960, 1989, and 2012.
The most legendary Solar Storm happened in 1859, and even had it’s own name – called The Carrington Event, named after British amateur astrologer Richard Carrington, who viewed a series of huge solar fires, which caused a huge CME to travel to Earth, taking less than a day, as the previous CME’s had in effect “mine swept” the dense solar wind path to Earth and made for clear sailing. Telegraph systems, then the apex of modern technology, failed on a global scale, and an enveloping glow of solar light could be seen from Canada to the tropics. In 2013, Lloyds of London estimated that if such a CME were to happen today, the financial impact could reach up to 2.6 TRILLION dollars, and could cause power losses for up to two years.
Recently, as reported by Bloomberg, Paul Singer, founder of Elliot Management, a 24.8 billion dollar hedge fund firm, has told investors that the biggest threat to the US Economy is from outer space – while naming the Carrington Event as evidence.
Not sure about you, but to me, this is another great opportunity to stock up on food and survival supplies. And don’t forget a generator for watching “Attack of the Mushroom People” while the grid is down.