Is the Earth going to be cooked today, Friday the 13th? (if not - soon

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Fri, 06/13/2014 - 04:05.

We’ve had solar flares before and nothing’s happened. But it wasn’t Friday the 13th.

Three major solar flares which have been on the sun’s surface for days could send a shockwave through Earth on Friday, knocking out mobile phone satellites (unlikely), breaking mirrors (not proven) and probably traveling under ladders (possible).

NASA says the solar flares, which are basically bursts of radiation on the sun’s surface, could hit GPS and communications signals. The fact that it is occurring on Friday the 13th is making some people (like us) nervous, but scientists promise it is unlikely to result in an Armageddon or Deep Impact-like situation and will only result in a “minor geomagnetic storm.” Phew! We think.

Three X-class flares erupted from the left side of the sun on Tuesday and Wednesday, as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The images show light in a blend of two ultraviolet wavelengths: 171 and 131 Angstroms. The former is colorized in yellow, the latter in red.Photo: NASA/SDO/Goddard

But while we may not need Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck to suit up and save the day, you may be unable to use your mobile phone for an unknown period of time (which for many people IS like the apocalypse).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says one of the flares created what is called among science-y types a “coronal mass ejection,” which could strike Earth.

What that means is that Earth would be hit by a giant cloud of plasma that would cause a literal shockwave, affecting communications systems. The good news is that solar flares are usually harmless because the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most of the dangerous particles they emit.

Two of the flares already produced radio blackouts on Tuesday at 7:42 a.m. and 8:52 a.m.

The last major CME to hit Earth came in 1859. People reported that compasses were knocked out, but the full impact of a CME in a technological age is still untested. It has left many remembering the Y2K bug that some feared was going to bring the world to its knees at the turn of the new millennium.

While NASA has posted some pretty amazing pictures of the flares erupting on the surface of the sun on its website, the NOAA has tried to keep the doomsayers from hysterically running to local supermarkets to hoard all the canned goods.

“A CME … has been observed moving at a flank from Earth and a glancing blow to Earth from this event is expected on June 13. An outside chance of at most G1 (Minor) Geomagnetic storms remains in the forecast,” the NOAA said.


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