Solar Flare – Calm before the storm ?
The Sun follows an 11-year cycle of high and low periods of solar activity. ICurrently it is now leaving a notably quiet phase and scientists expect to see a sharp increase in the number of solar flares as well as unprecedented levels of magnetic energy. So is no news good news ? Or is it just the calm before the storm ?
Well Someone is clearly taking it all seriously as leading experts met in Washington DC in June to discuss how to protect Earth from the possible flares. Also the space centre Nasa is currently tracking the situation with dozens of satellites, including the World Famous Solar Dynamics Observatory.
It is believed that a flare would have the power of nearly 100 hydrogen bombs and could cause twenty times more economic damage than the recent Hurricane Katrina that hit America. It is all very serious reading.
In the UK, at conference in September 2010 , the British Secretary of Defence Liam Fox warned that a once in a century solar flare could bring modern life to a halt by paralyzing power grids and disabling satellite communications.
Mr Fox said the British government has been working with experts and private companies to ‘build collective resilience’ against the effects of a solar flare. ‘Much of our critical national infrastructure depends on data and services delivered from, or through satellites, whose sensitive electronics are vulnerable to some of the radiation emitted by the sun’