Who’s afraid of a Solar Flare?

A post from Wired Science back in 2009  – about the massive increase in Solar activity that is due in 2012. Well it has started – the first CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) is due to arrive tomorrow (March 6th), and today there has been another major solar flare. The impact of the waves of energy released could disrupt the magnetic field of the Earth, and damage electrical power grids, GPS systems, and satellite communications.I’m not sure if it is good for our health either.

In this article the scientists discuss this and other 2012 coincidences about changes to the Earth with a Mayan Shaman.

NASA’s FAQ on whether the world will end in 2012 It’s a fun read, anyway the bottom line is that they think that it’s going to be okay (well they would have to say that if they want their 2013 budget approved).

UPDATE March 8th 

“The event is the largest for several years, but it is not in the most severe class,” said Dr Craig Underwood of the Surrey space centre at Surrey University. “We may expect more storms of this kind and perhaps much more severe ones in the next year or so as we approach solar maximum.

“Such events act as a wake-up call as to how our modern western lifestyles are utterly dependent on space technology and national power grid infrastructure.

A solar flare, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The largest storm in five years has sent charged particles heading towards Earth with the potential to disrupt power grids and satellites. Photograph: Nasa/SDO/AIA/Rex Features

A solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light on March 30, 2010 with Earth superimposed for a sense of scale. Credit: NASA/SDO