If there is a massive ejection of material from the Sun, a coronal mass ejection (CME), billions of tons of charged particles hurled out into space, which strikes the Earth, and if the polarity of the mass lines up with the Earth’s magnetic field, the energy will discharge into the Earth’s atmosphere and, thence, into everything that can receive the energy, thus burning out all electronic equipment. We return to the 19th century in a matter of… well… minutes.
I read this on the Daily Telegraph:
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted the summer’s first ‘X’ solar flare on Friday – a huge outburst from the sun right at the top of the scale.
This came on the back of 12 ‘M’ flares in just six days, with a M6.1 flare knocking out radio signals across the planet on Thursday – hinting at the destruction the sun could reign on our technology if Earth takes a full blast across its blow.
The sunspot group behind the flares – named as AR1515 – stretches across 118,681 miles (191,000km) of the sun’s surface.
This makes it’s width more than 15 Earths set end to end, said NASA solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young.
The biggest flares are known as ‘X-class flares’ based on a classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength.
The smallest ones are A-class, which are similar to normal background levels, followed by B, C, M and X.
Similar to the Richter scale for earthquakes, each letter represents a 10-fold increase in energy output, meaning an X is ten times an M and 100 times a C.
The sun is now heading into the peak of its 11-year solar flare cycle, with 2013 expected to the tumultuous year.
With the increased spread in communications in the last 11 years, a sever solar storm could cause huge issues for the planet. [Huge issues. That’s one way to put it.]