Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Massive solar flare misses… this time

Written By: Bob - Nov• 05•11

As if the novel I’m fiddling with didn’t quite seem real enough, the Sun decided to provide some uncomfortable encouragement with this.

A powerful solar flare that erupted Thursday (Nov. 3) from a huge blemish on the sun’s surface has been classified as an X1.9 flare, ranking it in among the most powerful types of storms from our star can unleash.

The flare originated in a humongous sunspot that was sighted earlier this week, which ranks as one of the largest sunspots seen in years. The event began at 4:27 p.m. ET (2027 GMT).

The flare “triggered some disruption to radio communications on Earth beginning about 45 minutes later,” NASA officials wrote in a statement. “Scientists are continuing to watch this active region as it could well produce additional solar activity as it passes across the front of the sun.”

The 1859 Carrington Event was a solar electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that is the inspiration for my book, and it came from an event just like the one that happened less than 48 hours ago.

What I find fascinating about Thursday’s eruption is that even though scientists saw it and recognized its power immediately, the rest of us were oblivious to it. The flare was ignored by the media, and I’m going to note that in my book. When we get hit – and at this point, I’m not sure if I’m referring to the real world, my fictional world, or both – the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of us will have no idea that anything was coming.

That is more than a little bit unsettling.

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  1. John says:

    Is there some question as to why the media would ignore something that might lay the blame for “global warming” on anything other than mankind?

    • displaced2 says:

      I really liked the book Preppers Road March which told a fictional account of surviving after a solar flare takes the grid out.Fast read and thought provoking.

  2. Fderfler says:

    Two comments:
    1. A decade or more ago a political candidate might/might not have said “something” to a woman. THAT is certainly more important than the potential end of the world as we know it.
    2. The fact is that the kids “reporting” the news have no knowledge of science, finance, or the military. They’re pretty good with women’s issues, black issues, and environmental issues… as long as none of that involves science or math. An explosion? That’s good. On the sun? Who cares? No blood or body fluids? Forget it.

    • Old TV Guy says:

      #2. You are absolutely right, sir. I’ve worked for decades in the engineering-production side of big time TV news. About 20 years ago, stations and networks dumped most ofthe old people from their newsrooms. Gone were the people who covered space shots, etc.

      In their place, newsrooms are now filled with young women with mass communications degrees who probably haven’t taken a science class since 11th grade. Most are unmarrried, and don’t live in the world of taxpaying, mortgage paying child raising adults.

      While the scenery at work is a lot better now, do you wonder why the news is filled with fashion shows, reports on spa days and manscaping? It’s because that’s all the producers know.

      • Rignerd says:

        I’ve never understood the phenomena of news reporters looking really good. Was Einsteins theory accepted or rejected based on his looks? I’d rather get in depth analysis and commentary from an ugly mug with a first rate mind than Dash RipRock with a $100 hair cut or “scenery” with plastic ta-ta’s instead of IQ.
        Some of the Fox news info babes are pretty sharp, but I doubt they are the top minds of our age.

  3. Hartley says:

    The 1859 “Carrington Event” was several things (flare, CME [Coronal Mass Ejection], geomagnetic storm) – it was NOT an “Electromagnetic Pulse”. If it occurred today, the EFFECT might resemble an extremely large EMP, but it wasn’t one.

  4. Firehand says:

    Ever seen the book Flare?

    Pretty good description of solar flares, and what effects could be, set in a future timespan

  5. CptNerd says:

    So, given there are good books that describe the effects of a massive flare, are there any resources on how to safeguard our electric/electronic devices? For instance, I used to work in SCIFs with their Faraday shields, would those be good enough to protect against a massive flare? How about a home-made Faraday cage, say a grounded microwave oven? Would cars that are parked in underground garages or in the bottom of elevated parking garages have any protection for their electronic ignitions, etc.?

    Any guides (serious ones, backed up by science) would be appreciated.

  6. Jeff Mitchell says:

    The reason the media said nothing about it is because scientists knew it wasn’t going to hit the earth. We’ve already had a few X-class flares already this year. But there hasn’t been much reporting because they were not pointing in such a way as to disturb us.

    Had it been aimed at us, there would be news. My wife and I got a news report about a CME coming at the earth and we went to a dark-sky location to watch auroras. We live just south of Salt Lake City, Utah. We saw a bit of red aurora, and it was cool.

    I’m certain that if a big one is going to hit us, we’ll know well in advance, usually 18 hours to several days.

    The 1859 flare arrived very quickly because there was a coronal hole that cleared the way for the CME to leave the sun quickly. That one arrived 18 hours after the flare was seen. Usually, we get more notice than that.