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1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

Thursday, January 5, 2017 6:41
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1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

Image source: NASA

Jan. 5, 2017

January offers us a time for reflection and prediction. For centuries, people looked to the stars for signs of what is to come, and winter offers many opportunities for stargazing.

As we begin a new year, perhaps it is wise to consider not only the beauty of the sky but also the destructive power it holds.

Astronomers pay particularly close attention to solar flares, which are sudden, intense and rapid variations in the sun’s brightness. These fairly common occurrences happen when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere suddenly releases.

A solar flare contains high-energy photons and particles that are equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at once. While regular solar flares are not a danger to Earth, extreme events, or solar storms, could be catastrophic to our way of life.

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In fact, according to a study published in the journal Space Weather in 2012, there is a 12 percent chance (or, one in eight chance) that Earth will experience a catastrophic solar event within the next decade. This “megaflare” could disrupt or destroy modern technology, causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damage from which it could take many years to recover.

Source: http://www.offthegridnews.com/grid-threats/1-in-8-chance-of-a-grid-crippling-solar-storm-in-the-next-decade/

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