Events of terrible beauty

One of these days, there will be another Carrington Event.

There will be a huge coronal mass ejection from your planet’s yellow star that strikes your planet square on.  The result will be a vast electromagnetic pulse which fries almost all your electronic stuff.  You will be plunged in an instant back to something like the 19th century.

Will you have what it takes to survive?

On the other hand, perhaps there will be nuclear attacks that cause EMPs, or perhaps there will be a pandemic or other natural events which brings down the world’s economy, resulting in much the same.

On that cheery note, I read at Spaceweather:

ERUPTING FILAMENT AND EARTH-DIRECTED CME: During the early hours of Oct. 22nd, a long filament of magnetism erupted on the sun: movie. The explosion hurled a lopsided CME into space, and a new analysis suggests it could be Earth-directed. Click to watch the movie, then scroll down for more information:

The eruption occured squarely on the Earthside of the sun, but the CME is not squarely Earth-directed. The bulk of the ejecta will fly north of the sun-Earth line. Nevertheless, the CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on Oct. 24-25. It might even merge with a pair of minor CMEs traveling ahead of it. If so, the combined impact would be more likely to spark a geomagnetic storm. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras in the nights ahead.

Watch for auroras!

They are events of terrible beauty, presaging we know not what.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Hmm. Coincidentally, (“I think not!”), my wife and I talked about losing power just yesterday, and what we would have to do to survive. There are Amish living nearby, living without electricity. Would they even notice a difference..? We thank God we’ve been able to leave the utopia (sic.) of Minnesota for a small town in South Dakota, and will have at least avoided massive civil disorder should a glancing CME not get our attention. “Some say the world will end in fire, and some say in ice…”

  2. Priam1184 says:

    Anyone remember that meteor in Siberia the day after Pope Benedict XVI resigned earlier this year? Made me wonder whether or not somebody wasn’t trying to tell us something or not…

  3. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I know an old monk. His father was a Harvard professor who was aware of the Fatima message. When the aurora lit up the night sky over Europe in 1938, the father knew this was the Fatima sign. He foresaw the outbreak of World War II and told his family.

  4. LarryW2LJ says:

    Nuts! And 10 Meters has been so good the last few days. Worked Japan from NJ last night with 5 Watts. A CME and the resulting geomagnetic disturbance will probably put the kibosh on that.

    As far as an EMP goes, it has been suggested in several sources that I have read, that storing a backup radio in an all metal container may be enough to shield the electronics, so they are not fried in such an event. Inevitably, the Internet and most telephone communications would probably not survive, as the devices needed to make these things run are not shielded. This is why we say, “Amateur Radio ….. when all else fails.”

  5. pannw says:

    This stuff scares me to death, because my husband is a pilot and if he were flying at the time…argh…especially since he is not baptized. Please pray for his conversion. I keep trying to be patient and persistent like Saint Monica, but it is really weighing heavily on me. God have mercy.

  6. NoraLee9 says:

    It’s probably headed right for Trenton, NJ. In light of recent court decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    Actually, there are many things that can be done in the event of an EMP. First, of all, EMP’s only affect things that are plugged in or electrically conducting. Basically, the pulse will propagate along any conductive surface and release energy, either as electromagnetic, electric, or heat energy, when resistance is met (for the true nerd, this is Maxwell’s Equations writ large). If your computer is not currently attached to line current, it will be perfectly safe. So will transistor radios, etc. Anything detached from the Grid, unless it has very sensitive electronics (like some cameras) should be okay. Old tube radios sitting unplugged will also be okay. The problem is that most things attached to the Power Grid, including the Power Grid, will get fried. This will knock out most means of communication, most cars (who even though not connected to a wall socket, are, basically, conductive steel shells that will take the EMP and pass the current into the car, thus frying all of the circuitry),

    There are many things you can do. For communication, every house should have a stand-alone walkie-talkie with a large supply of batteries. The police should, especially have these. Gas generators, if not connected to a house line, might be okay. Forget tv and radios – the stations will be fried, although portable hand-cranked radios might be good to have for when and if the power comes back on. If you can find portable radios with short wave and long wave capabilities, this would be ideal.

    Of course, there are many practical things involving food, clothing, sanitation, and shelter that I’m sure the survivalists can address. My point is that not all electronics will be fried. If you want double surety, you can always use a Faraday Cage.

    Two interesting links:

    From the author of One Second After:

    and a nice technical paper on induced line currents after EMP (not classified) from 1983:

    The Chicken

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    Ohh, I just had a brilliant idea:

    What if each cell phone were designed with a sliding switch, so that, in the event of an EMP or natural disaster that took down communications, the switch could be slid to convert the phone to a true walkie-talkie (with restricted frequencies so as to not mess up the Ham bands).

    The Chicken

  9. pledbet424 says:

    Last spring I bought a 1978 Toyota FJ40, and have just about finished rehabilitating it. It will run after an EMP or Coronal event…no electronics under that hood.

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    I’ve thought of that too Pledbet, but figured that even if I had it I would soon be “de-carred”.

  11. StJude says:

    I’ve read both of those books… both freaked me out.

  12. pledbet424 says:

    We live out in the country and hopefully being decarred is less of a risk. In the city it would be riot and chaos, but out here, not so much.

  13. TC says:

    A world with no cell phones, no Twitter, no Facebook, no cable news channels? Almost worth global economic collapse.

    Of course we don’t need CMEs, for a worldwide collapse. Just wait till people quit buying US debt and the dollar becomes worthless.

  14. inexcels says:

    I would say the sun is a lousy shot, but honestly, the fact that it ever hits an Earth-sized target at a range of 149,600,000 km pretty much makes it the best sniper in all of history.

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  16. The Cobbler says:

    @Chicken, if your cell phones and laptop both survive, nobody will be able to stop you from reprogramming your phones to talk to each other, right? Of course, it would be more helpful if people all over had the option from the start without knowing how to hack into a mobile OS, especially the ones for plain old regular cell phones as opposed to “smartphones”, and even more especially given that novice hackers won’t have the internet to guide them (or, I guess I should say us, since I myself fall in that category of “if I have a reason to do it and the internet to look stuff up I can usually figure it out”). But in principle there’s possibilities here, I’d assume.

  17. JonPatrick says:

    Cell phones are designed to work to/from towers, would probably take a lot of work to make them talk to each other directly, a whole different protocol. Seems to me a better solution is a set of FRS radios, available inexpensively from Wal Mart or Radio Shack, with a lot of batteries – most of them come with NiCad or NiMh but will take AA dry cells, which will be necessary as there won’t be a way to charge the rechargeables. No license needed for FRS.

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    There’s no reason why all cell phones can’t have a secondary FRS circuit built-in that can be toggled to by a switch on the side. Then, everyone would still be able to communicate, albeit over much shorter ranges.

    The Chicken

  19. tioedong says:

    who needs a Carrington event? Just move to the Philippines, and brownouts all the time….we just got our electricity back after the typhoon wrecked a lot of trees and electric lines.

    Of course, it’s not as bad as a Carrington event: our cellphones worked. Some local entrepeneurs with generators put up “cellphone charging” stations: recharge for 20 pesos (about 50 cents). Here, even our maids and the farmers have cellphones.

    Our granddaughter, caught in rising water, took refuge on a gas station store’s roof for six hours and is okay. When they fled the SUV, she grabbed her iPhone, and some snacks, but no blanket. Priorities you know.

    We are okay, but remember the people in Bohol and the Visayas, who need your prayers after having a devestating earthquake.

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