We take the nation's power grid for granted. But what would happen if the power went out all over the country, or all over the world? This scenario has resulted in the White House coming out with a contingency plan if a massive solar flare hits.
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Scientists are monitoring a sunspot that produced an X1.9-category solar storm that was unleashed over the weekend and could be headed towards Earth. Sunspot 1302 is so strong that it has been detected shortwave radio on this planet.
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After intensely studying the sun's surface, inner core and its solar activity, scientists are projecting that following its maximum activity in 2013; the sun will be in hibernation mode, which could trigger a mini ice age on Earth.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and scientists are warning of the potential dangers if strong solar flare storms continue. Some say solar storms could cost $2 trillion in damages.
A few days ago, the Sun unleashed a massive solar flare when a "wispy tendril erupted." The solar eruption is not expected to hit Earth because it was aimed away from our planet. If it did, it would just cause bright auroras.
A web of interdependencies makes the modern economy especially sensitive to solar storms.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
What if we were to be hit with a massive "super solar flare? A US map of vulnerable transformers with areas of probable system collapse encircled.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this ultraviolet-light image of an X1.1 flare erupting from the Sun Oct. 19.
NASA's IRIS solar atmospheric observatory witnessed its strongest Solar Flare on Jan 28 2014, since launching in 2013.
A sunspot viewed in close-up in ultra-violet light, taken by NASA's TRACE spacecraft.
NASA TRACE via Wikimedia Commons
A solar flare is a large explosion in the Sun’s atmosphere that propels radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum. Solar flares are dangerous and can cause mass bursts of solar wind and even geomagnetic storms on Earth.