19 Tamuz 5772
ANOTHER BIG SUNSPOT: As one big sunspot (AR1515) turns away from Earth, another one is turning toward our planet. AR1520, now emerging over the sun's southeastern limb, stretches more than 127,000 km (10 Earth diameters) from end to end (see picture to left).
AR1520 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. So far, however, the sunspot's magnetic canopy is crackling with lesser C-flares. The calm before the storm? NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours.
MANY CMEs: During the late hours of July 8th, a series of rapid-fire explosions on the sun propelled three coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded their exit (see video here.
Despite the number of eruptions and the breadth of the billowing ejecta, Earth is little affected. All of the clouds appear set to miss our planet. Nevertheless, this flurry of CMEs highlights the currently-high level of solar activity. It is only a matter of time before a significant CME comes our way. Stay tuned for stormy space weather.
If an EMP effect does occur, it is more likely to come from the sun and affect the entire world, than to be caused by a rogue nation's weapon.
Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe
...Over the last few decades, western civilisations have busily sown the seeds of their own destruction. Our modern way of life, with its reliance on technology, has unwittingly exposed us to an extraordinary danger: plasma balls spewed from the surface of the sun could wipe out our power grids, with catastrophic consequences.
The projections of just how catastrophic make chilling reading. "We're moving closer and closer to the edge of a possible disaster," says Daniel Baker, a space weather expert based at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and chair of the NAS committee responsible for the report.
It is hard to conceive of the sun wiping out a large amount of our hard-earned progress. Nevertheless, it is possible.
Read the whole thing here.