As if we humans don’t have enough to worry about, last week Earth experienced a “moderate” electromagnetic storm. This disturbance in the Earth’s atmosphere was caused by solar wind shock waves. Generally we are not bothered by the Sun’s weather patterns because Earth, like all planets in the solar system, maintains a protective shield called The Magnetosphere. And we know for certain that this barrier is up and working when we see those dazzling Northern Lights, which are produced by the collision of electrically charged particles from the sun and the gaseous particles in Earth’s atmosphere. And, man, did we see them this last weekend!
Spaceweather.com reports that on Saturday, October 9th, a solar flare from a sunspot hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth, and caused the geomagnetic outburst that took place on the following Monday. Specifically it was a magnetic filament connected to sunspot Ar882. This storm was rated a “G2,” which is the second level of NOAA’s five-level storm scale. (G1 storms are minor, while G5s are extreme.) These storms are particularly dangerous because they have the capacity to disrupt Earth’s magnetic field and affect GPS readings. The immediate past seven different solar storms have been experienced and reported as harmful in some manner.
It appears that we made it through this particular storm, but the alarm is being sounded because Earth’s advanced technology is clearly at risk. An informative page entitled “Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse” states that a 1.6 to 12 percent possibility exists for a solar storm with the strength to cause catastrophic disruptions within the next decade. Humanity’s difficulty is actually accepting the fact that the Sun’s activity is not consistently smooth and stable, but apparently wildly cyclical. Yet we’ve known this fact for 200 years.
English astronomer, Richard C. Carrington, not only discovered the existence of solar flares, but in 1859 he witnessed The Great Solar Storm of 1859. At that time a large solar flare hit Earth’s atmosphere providing unexpected electrical shocks to telegraph operators and producing sparks from telegraph pylons. It is thought that if any storm as strong as The Carrington Effect occurred today it would produce widespread power outages and short circuit our communications.
Solar flares have been closely observed since the sixteen hundreds. We are now in our 25th scientifically recorded cycle. It was discovered that approximately every eleven years a Solar Maximum occurs marking the generation of the Sun’s greatest electromagnetic activity. It is understood that at these times the Sun’s magnetic poles reverse or FLIP from one electrical charge to another, creating outbursts of plasma and electromagnetic storms on Earth.
Currently our solar system is emerging from a solar minimum, meaning a period in which there are few or no sun spots observed, and moving toward it’s solar maximum, when our central star is at its most active state. Actually we have just experienced a huge number of spotless days. Forbes Magazine predicts that the next solar “MAX” occurs between November 2024 and March 2026, but most likely around July 2025. NASA describes the condition of the Sun right now as awakening from a nap. This is also the judgment of the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel which determined that the switch from Cycle 24 to 25 actually occurred in December 2019.
This information about increase of sunspots comes at the same time as many predictions are offered for the year 2025. Perhaps all that is happening now is leading up to something big. There are religious prophecy, political forecasts and scientific warnings being circulated on the Internet. As to the accuracy of these predictions we must wait and see. But any smart population living on a small planet with so many problems would get right to work solving them.