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Tech: Solar Flare Warning

Jack Campin 07 Mar 12 - 08:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Mar 12 - 09:09 PM
JohnInKansas 07 Mar 12 - 09:19 PM
Rapparee 07 Mar 12 - 09:51 PM
Ebbie 07 Mar 12 - 10:58 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Mar 12 - 11:04 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Mar 12 - 01:50 AM
Keith A of Hertford 08 Mar 12 - 04:31 AM
Jack Campin 08 Mar 12 - 04:50 AM
Bill D 08 Mar 12 - 05:22 PM
bobad 08 Mar 12 - 06:09 PM
Bobert 08 Mar 12 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Dani 08 Mar 12 - 10:03 PM
Will Fly 09 Mar 12 - 07:28 AM
Jim Martin 09 Mar 12 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Mar 12 - 07:49 AM
goatfell 09 Mar 12 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Mar 12 - 09:12 AM
Don Firth 09 Mar 12 - 04:02 PM
Little Hawk 09 Mar 12 - 05:27 PM
Jack Campin 09 Mar 12 - 05:49 PM
Don Firth 09 Mar 12 - 09:10 PM
Ebbie 10 Mar 12 - 02:16 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 10 Mar 12 - 03:25 AM
Jack Campin 10 Mar 12 - 04:59 AM
Pete Jennings 10 Mar 12 - 05:13 AM
Don Firth 10 Mar 12 - 02:57 PM
Jack Campin 10 Mar 12 - 04:11 PM
Don Firth 10 Mar 12 - 04:27 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Mar 12 - 03:18 PM
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Subject: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 08:58 PM

It seems the biggest solar flare for several years - perhaps the biggest for decades - is going to hit the Earth in the next couple of hours.

We can't predict the extent of its effects, but anything electronic connected to a power or communications network is at some risk.

I am just about to unplug all the computer equipment in the house and disconnect the phone/broadband at the master socket. And go to bed. If the lights are still working in the morning I'll plug it all back in.

I suggest you do the same.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 09:09 PM

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/aurora-possible-major-solar-flare-/62489

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/07/10596987-solar-blast-could-have-earthly-impact?chromedomain=cosmiclog

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/#RadioBlackouts

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 09:19 PM

Estimates of how much, if any, damage might come from this flare have varied; but of course no one really knows until it gets here. Most mainstream advisers are saying there's little(?) reason for concern; but there's no reason not to take any precautions you feel are appropriate.

A more worrisome element is the prediction that the sun may be entering an unusually active sunspot cycle that could produce even bigger ones, so instead of "biggest for decades" you might be able to say "biggest for millenia" sometime soon.

She's probably just pissed that we've been absorbing so much more than our fair share of her output recently.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Rapparee
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 09:51 PM

I saw the flare via a telescope this afternoon. Shucks, it was just a little-bitty ol' thing, hardly more than 10 earths tall.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 10:58 PM

One thing I wish the Weather Service would do: I wish they would resist the temptation of speeding up the display. It is awesome enough at normal speed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 11:04 PM

It shouyld make for great Northern Lights tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 01:50 AM

Unfortuantely we're in one of those areas where NOAA says "nothing to see, go take a nap."


Sob. Sniff. Snort - - - AHHHH!

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 04:31 AM

A big flare could be a catastrophe.
There was one in the 19th Century that would destroy many or most of the transformers on the grid.
It could prove impossible to get the power back in time to save our civilisation.
This one is not that big, but it will happen again.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 04:50 AM

The name for the Big One is "Carrington Event" - google for it.

We seem to have dodged the bullet this time.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 05:22 PM

What an interesting situation... to have a major part of our civilization linked and dependent on a technology that is so vulnerable to solar flares and certain type of nukes... and even techno-terrorists.

Perhaps newspaper publishers will be back in business some day.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: bobad
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 06:09 PM

Is the sky falling again?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Bobert
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 08:53 PM

The sky has fallen... Just walk outside and look in back yard... Mine??? Danged thing filled with sky... Gonna have to get out a sky rake and rake it up... Doesn't compost so what a waste of time...

Grrrrrrrr...

Plus, it's all over the cars...

B;~)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 10:03 PM

Could this be why my damn cell phone alarms didn't go off this morning?! Never happened to me before.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:28 AM

Solar Flare - good name for a band...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Jim Martin
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:33 AM

My mobile BB (dongle) was knocked out by something yesterday morn!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:49 AM

(Modified from another thread...)

A Folk Thought for the day...

Once the Big Solar Flare hits us, that'll be the end of electronic media, and whatever music survives will be back to copyright-free vernacular oral tradition in the feral context of small ultra-violent communities desperately trying to survive in the post-technological era. Half-remembered snatches of pop hits and advert jingles will be embelished into epic ballads of hero tale & adventure by true bards whose wordcraft & cunning will be the only thing between them and the sword.

Of course, most of us won't make it, but there'll be a few that will - the young, the strong, the fit, the especially ambitious - and music will resume its true place at the heart of the community rather than just an indulgent aside of a consumerist culture so far removed from any sense of reality that it's impossible to say what's real anymore.

Out of this very natural apocalypse and second Very Dark Age Indeed, there will emerge a New Age on Earth, one in which humanity has learned the mistakes of the past least they're doomed to repeat them. This will be an age of love, beauty, harmony with nature - and that means, come the year 3012, it will be ANALOGUE all the way and DIGITAL will be seen as the overly convenient crap-betteging-crap that it always was.

*

And a wee film 1973 with a perfect soundtrack from Robert Wyatt:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTjQj2c8i3M


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: goatfell
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:50 AM

can't do anything why worry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 09:12 AM

Well, let's hope it happens at night, eh?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 04:02 PM

I really hate to rain on all the running around in circles and screaming in panic, but anyone who didn't hear the news about the solar storm probably won't notice much of anything.

The sun is not a Cepheid variable. Cepheid variables are yellow supergiant stars that go through a regular cycle of increasing and decreasing luminosity, and because of their very regular periodicity, astronomers can use them to judge distances to far galaxies (I'm not quite sure how this works; it's slide-rule or calculator territory, and I'm still trying to master the abacus).

But—the sun IS a variable star. It doesn't vary by much, compared to other yellow G-class main-sequence stars (generally quite stable, fortunately for us!), but it does go through regular cycles. Every eleven years it goes through an increase in sun spot activity. They are eddies in the convection currents in the sun's magnetic field, and they release a lot of energy in the form of solar flares. The sun has been fine-tuning its magnet fields now for billions of years, and right now it's moving toward the peak in its eleven-year cycle.

During a solar flare, the solar system gets hosed with a lot of charged particles. But due to the earth's magnetic field and its ionosphere, much of it gets intercepted and diverted before it can fry your toenails.

This is one of the reasons for the uproar some years ago over the possibility of vast quantities of spray-can propellants messing up the ionosphere. And, for that matter, anything else that can degrade the ozone layer. The ozone layer in the upper atmosphere protects us human beans and other critters from periodic blasts of radiation from the sun.

About the worst that solar flares and other sun spot activity does is that it CAN screw up things like radio and television reception and mess with other things that make use of magnetic fields. Cell phones, wireless networks, maybe. Hissy radio reception for a day or two, maybe. Your non-cable connected television going in a bit wonky during "Wheel of Fortune," for example.

But particularly spectacular Northern Lights, because it's up in the ionosphere where most of the interaction takes place and it tends to zero in around the earth's magnetic poles.

But—it happens every eleven years and lo! we're still here. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 05:27 PM

My dog isn't. He died a couple of years ago.

However, it wasn't because of a solar flare...

I have kept a close eye on the budgies, and they appear to be doing fine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 05:49 PM

About the worst that solar flares and other sun spot activity does is that it CAN screw up things like radio and television reception and mess with other things that make use of magnetic fields.

Like the entire electric power distribution network of the developed world. Power transformers are the main weak point.

A repeat of the 1859 Carrington event would be catastrophic. It's nuts that there is nothing in place to reduce the damage something like that would cause. PROBABLY they only happen every few centuries but we don't have much idea of why the sun should ever produce a flare that big. There is more variability than just the 22-year cycle.

This last one looked like it had the potential to be a re-run of the Quebec power outage. And there will be more on that scale over the next couple of years.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 09:10 PM

True, Jack, once in a great while, the sun emits a real doozy. And we should, indeed, have some manner of backup system(s). The Carrington Event produced spectacular aurorae down into the lower latitudes and blew out the relatively new telegraph systems. But electronics, what there was of it, was pretty unsophisticated in 1859. One would hope that some progress has been made since then.

Also, the military has done a fair amount of research into electro-magnetic pulses, both for use as a weapon and to protect from those who might possess such a weapon. The whole purpose of hosing an adversary with EMPs is to blow out his electronics.

By the way, a nuclear explosion, they found, emits one helluvan EMP.

But a possibly far greater danger to LIFE than extraordinary but relatively rare emissions from the sun is that the galaxy is sprinkled with gamma-ray bursters:   massive stars on the verge of becoming supernovae and collapsing into black holes. When they do this, they emit powerful beams of gamma rays from their poles. These beams could destroy the ionospere of a planet, which could lead to the end of life on any planet within several million light years caught in the beam.

I haven't heard anything about it for the past couple of years, but there was a report that there is a massive star that looks like it's just about ripe, and WE are within a degree or two of its polar axis. Staring right down the barrel of the shotgun.

But I have also heard that there is not a blasted thing we can do about something like that.

That's one we know about. But there are lots more we don't. And they say that the shot you don't hear is the one that gets you.

Add to this the plethora of earth-crossing asteroids (a couple due for a fly-by right soon now—at least we HOPE it's a fly-by). And, of course, the fact that we are living on the crust of slag that's drifting around on a ball of boiling nickel-iron, and one could get the idea that life is a little precarious here on this planet.

But Mars is even worse. Very little atmosphere and no ozone layer or ionosphere to protect any possible inhabitants (including earth colonists) from solar flares. Which may be why the Mars rovers have found little or no evidence of the presence of Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas. Pity.

Don Firth 

P. S. You know, I can imagine what a good writer of science-fiction could do with the idea of all electronics being wiped out on earth by a massive EMP or solar flare, what that would do to civilization, and how we human beans would cope. Mad Max? Or a whole new and different start?

Somebody must have already done it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 02:16 AM

You can avoid ALL of the dangers out there, whether in the sky or or on the water or on that land-























You're still gonna die.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 03:25 AM

An eye on Spaceweather can keep you up with goings-on. Next wave to hit on the 11th.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 04:59 AM

there was a report that there is a massive star that looks like it's just about ripe, and WE are within a degree or two of its polar axis. Staring right down the barrel of the shotgun.

You're thinking of Betelgeuse - it is pretty close to supernova and is pointing our way, but it probably won't produce a gamma ray burst and if it did it's too far away to cause any damage.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 05:13 AM

My computer went a bit haywire yesterday afternoon. Windows explorer kept switching (of its own accord) between small and really BIG icons. Wierd.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 02:57 PM

No, Jack, that's not the one. If I remember correctly, it's Wolf-Rayet 124. which, I believe, is in the constellation Sagittarius.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 04:11 PM

Sheesh, that's a long way off. Is it really a risk to us?

Given that it's come up on this forum, I will forever think of that star type as a celestial version of Bobert's crazed trigger-happy neighbour. The white trash region of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 04:27 PM

Well, according to some astronomers, it is. But since there's not a whole lot I can do about it, I'm not really going to worry.

By the way, I hear we are due for another blast from the sun tomorrow.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Solar Flare Warning
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Mar 12 - 03:18 PM

Recent reports have said that since the first burp arrived there have been two "smaller but significant" flares, that will also arrive here soon.

slide-rule or calculator territory, and I'm still trying to master the abacus ???

I found getting even slightly fluent with the abacus much more difficult than learning to feel comfortable with the second dozen scales on my slide rule.

It was also quite disconcerting to happen on a Chinese abacus after sort of learning to use a Japanese one. ... Real culture shock.

John


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