Aurora Borealis Watch: 24 Jan 1400 UT: Solar storm to hit earth

From SpaceWeather:

Space Weather News for Jan. 23, 2012

INCOMING CME: Big sunspot 1402 erupted on Jan. 23rd, producing a strong M9-class solar flare and a fast-moving coronal mass ejection (CME). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the CME should reach Earth on Jan. 24th at 14:18 UT (+/- 7 hr) and Mars a little more than a day later. Strong geomagnetic storms are possible when the cloud reaches Earth. Our magnetic field is still reverberating from a CME impact on Jan. 22nd, so another blow could spark impressive auroras at high latitudes. Sky watchers in northern Europe, Canada, Alaska, and northern-tier US states such as the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin should be alert for Northern Lights.

Some day one of these things is going to take out our electrical grid. Then what?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Volanges says:

    The northern lights were dancing up a storm over Labrador last night. But I have to admit that at -35ºC, this gal wasn’t going out to do any sky gazing. ;o)

  2. philologus says:

    “Some day one of these things is going to take out our electrical grid. Then what?”

    Shortwave radio.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Just looked north in Co. Meath and can’t see any. Maybe too early, but it is 22:15.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Tomorrow will be better. As to the grid, well, no Father Z online. Sniff..

  5. Finarfin says:

    “Some day one of these things is going to take out our electrical grid. Then what?”
    The deaths of more than 50% of the population. Without electricity, there can be no modern day farming, water, sewer, or transportation. Even food now is grown with heavy machinery, with computer chips in them. If by small chance food can be grown, someone would have to walk many miles before he/she could reach the farm. There would be no cars either. Clean water is also a problem, since pollution has made many of our lakes and streams undrinkable. And certainly no medicines or respirators!

  6. acardnal says:

    Then what?, you ask. No more blog, Father. :-(

  7. gambletrainman says:


    You bring up a more somber note. I was thinking of something lighter. I am a railfan. While some railroads are going from one type of wired communications between the dispatcher and train engineer, one in particular is in the process of switching from a wire-type transmission to a satellite type transmission. Just think of what mayhem satellite can cause during a solar flare-up. The road crew would have to go to telephone communications, stopping the trains every so many miles just to get instructions from the dispatcher. Oh, well, there goes high speed rail service for the US.

  8. KAS says:

    No electric? Well, my hubby grew up in remote areas where there was no electricity for most of his childhood, I’ll just help him pull out the old stuff his parents used to use and return to the old ways. What I’ll miss though is the internet and this blog!

  9. ContraMundum says:

    Hardened military systems would survive. We would go over to martial law. The real question is, When, if ever, would we get out?

  10. BethJanMarie says:

    Lots of Bible reading by candlelight.

    Living like the early Christians.

    Lots of Prayer!

  11. John Nolan says:

    There was a TV programme shown in the 1980s about a future nuclear war. Cars on the highways ground to a halt because the EMP from high-burst nukes messed up their electronic ignition. At the same time a Soviet jet fighter was examined and surprisingly its avionics were based on obsolete valve technology – and for very good reasons. The grid system is based on cables and should not be affected. All computers would crash, but what the hell? We managed without them for most of my lifetime.

  12. ContraMundum says:

    @John Nolan
    “The grid system is based on cables and should not be affected.”

    You’re missing the point. Those cables are effectively big antennas; they would pick up huge currents and blow out transformers all over the grid. This is not just a theory; it’s already happened on limited scales a few times. There is a real difference between an EMP from a single nuclear explosion and a coronal mass ejection that is many times the size of the Earth.

  13. Wow, if it knocked out the grid, think how much easier they will be to see!

  14. NoTambourines says:

    Fr. Z asks:

    “Some day one of these things is going to take out our electrical grid. Then what?”

    Purple ditto-machine copies entitled “Wherein Fr. Z rants.”


  15. Luvadoxi says:

    Horses! The Wild West again…

  16. JacobWall says:

    Thanks for these Aurora forecasts! A friend of mine from Mexico keeps asking me how he can tell the likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights at any given time. The only thing I could say is that (from my experience) they were most common in August. (But that might be just because it was too cold to sit on a lake side through the night in January watching for them.) I sent my friend the site. I hope it helps him.

  17. Jael says:

    No electrical grid? Carrier pigeons! Pony express!

    And perhaps I could take a member of the younger generation to dinner (cooked on the spit in the fireplace at my favorite locavore restaurant) without having to compete for attention with various high-tech devices.

  18. John Nolan says:

    @ Contra Mundum

    I’m sure you’re right. Physics was never my strong suit!

  19. Wayne NYC says:

    What then?
    Our Lady of LaSalette spoke of “A Great Chastisment”.
    Yesterday (on the anniversary of Roe vs.Wade) our President said abortion allows
    dreams to come true……….of course 54 million “dreams ” will never come true.

  20. acard944 says:

    I’d like to offer my personal musings on the CMEs and what God is saying to us for your prayerful consideration. I happen to believe that there is significance to the CMEs where many are not connecting the dots. First of all, we must filter and process all current events as God speaking to man through the Message of Fatima. [ALL?] We must be sensitive to the “signs of the times”. We know the the great Miracle of the Sun ( the greatest public miracle announced in advance by God Himself through the Holy Blessed Virgin Mary) that occurred on Oct 13, 1017 , when the Sun became unmoored from its position and appeared to plunge to earth so that all thought it was the end of the world. Over 70,000 people were eye witnesses to this. Many believe that the Miracle of the Sun was a precursor to a later celestial event that many in the Church acknowledge is a chastisement from Heaven. The Church approved message given during to Sister Agnes Sasagawa given on the same day again (Oct 13, 1973) is sobering. Archbishop John Shojiro Ita, Bishop of the Diocese of Niigata, stated that the message of Akita is the same as the Message of Fatima. Here is what Our Lady revealed to Sr Sasagawa ““As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.” (see to read the entire message). Could this CME be the warm up to “fire falling from the sky”? The fact that this CME occurred on the eve of the notorious Roe vs Wade decision legalizing abortion in our land is significant. We also know that the sin of abortion, enshrined into the law of this land by 7 of 9 Supreme Court justices who were known Freemasons, is a fulfillment of Our Lady’s Fatima message about the errors of Russia spreading throughout the world. One major error of Russia is the rise of Communism, which as we know, enslaved and destroyed millions around the world. Communism is still alive and well and firmly in control of the world through it’s chief instrument, the United Nations. For a great article on this particular error of Russia, see

    Again, you must view everything [EVERYTHING?] through the authentic Message of Fatima and continue to pray for yourselves and your families that you have the grace to endure to the very end, with Christ as Our Hope and Our Lady as Our Help! Pax Dominum!

  21. Maltese says:

    Another Carrington event would not be pretty, unless you are a Deliverance-esque cannibal, then it might just make your day!

    If we stampede old ladies on Black Friday for Wiis, imagine what we would do for food?

    But regardless of wether a magnitude 5 solar flare happens in our lifetimes, it is good to have some MREs and a handy shotgun, as the survivors of Katrina can probably attest.

  22. Maltese says:

    And, also, though I agree with those who say the Rosary is the most potent weapon spiritually, when the Turks landed on Malta in 1565, swords were also pretty important. And, as a side note, Jesus’ disciples were all armed with well-sharpened swards (in fact, I remember a story about our first Pope drawing a sward; and didn’t Pope Julius II ride out to battle?) So, just because we are Catholic doesn’t mean we can’t defend ourselves, and defend ourselves well!

  23. irishgirl says:

    Maltese: I’m sure you meant to say, ‘sword’, right?

  24. Darren says:

    Hmmm…. maybe the Amish are even smarter than we think?

  25. Maltese says:

    irishgirl, no, “sward” is what I meant. “‘Sward,’ noun: land covered with grassy turf.” Didn’t the apostles as well as the Maltese have land covered with grassy turf? :-) (I remember in college also getting angel and angle confused, as well as their, their and they’re, and this coming from an English major!)

  26. Supertradmum says:

    If the grid went out, I could see the Aurora, maybe. It is raining here and rain is forecasted through-out the night. So, unless the angels blow the clouds away, I shall not see a thing except raindrops on my north facing windows. And, there are, obviously, no Internet or grid problems here at 19:32.

  27. Poimier says:

    CME is nothing compared to the Retribution which – surely – cannot be delayed much longer ? Unless we pray and pray and pray. In any case, that is what I believe.

    St Paul says “God is not mocked”. This idiot says “God is not blind, deaf or dumb”

  28. Andy Lucy says:

    Ah yes… CME’s and grid failure. And people call preppers paranoid and crotchety. Hmph.

    FWIW, Lights Out is an excellent read for its genre. I read it first back around 2002 when it was still in its infancy online. Good preparedness tips wrapped into a decent story. This book isn’t Tolkien or Tolstoy… but a fair yarn.

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