NASA says solar storm nearly sent Earth back to the Dark Ages…again

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NASA admitted the Earth sidestepped the effects of a massive solar flare in 2012, barely missing instant catastrophe and chaos when the flare would have wiped out the planets electrical grids./NASA NASA admitted the Earth sidestepped the effects of a massive solar flare in 2012, barely missing instant catastrophe and chaos when the flare would have wiped out the planets electrical grids./NASA NASA admitted the Earth sidestepped the effects of a massive solar flare in 2012, barely missing the instant catastrophe and chaos that would have occured when the resulting solar storm wiped out electrical grids. Within hours, 7 billion people would have been plunged into darkness. Computers would have stopped working. Toilets would have stopped flushing. Air conditioning units would have stopped cooling.

We were lucky. But the trouble is, the Earth stung by an equally powerful solar storm in 1859.

The Earth's near miss with a solar storm

As reported in the New York Post, a strong solar flare erupted off the face of the sun on July 23, 2012 and its geomagnetic solar storm nearly struck the Earth. Luckily, the sun was turned slightly away from our planet. As a result, the harmful effects of the solar storm zipped past us and into space.

If the flare has occurred a week earlier, the Earth would have been in the direct path of the solar flare. Electrical grids would have failed.

Everything plugged into an outlet would have been destroyed: No televisions, computers, radios, ect.

No refrigerators. No food.

Overnight, the Earth’s inhabitants would have had to hunt, prepare and cook food they way we farmers did back Colonial times.

How do scientists know this is all possible?

The Carrington solar storm of 1859

It happened before in 1859 and was called the Carrington Event.

Back on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 1859, a coronal mass ejection – that’s scientific talk for a really big solar storm – struck the earth.

The Northern Lights were visible as far south as Cuba and Hawaii. People in the eastern United States reported they could read their newspapers at night because the sky was so bright.

The night sky was so bright that coal miners woke up early because they thought the sun was about to rise.

Worse yet, telegraph systems – the hi-tech gadgetry of the day - failed in Europe and North America. Telegraph operators were shocked by the machines they were using. Some telegraph machines continued to send and receive messages even though they were turned off.

If a coronal mass ejection could topple telegraph systems, imagine what it would do to computer systems? Imagine what would happen if everything that needed a computer failed at once?

As historians say, “If it happened before, it can happen again.” Some estimates place a 1-in-8 chance of a super coronal mass ejection hitting the Earth before 2020.

Learn more, click on NASA’s solar flare page.

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