The Solar Storm that Almost Hit Earth
We live our lives in the sun in the RGV often never thinking much about the power of the big "nuclear furnace." But the sun is a powerful and violent body, sending out large bursts of energy and particles called "solar flares."
According to one article in the Los Angeles Times, the earth came very close to facing a major dissaster... a giant, fast-moving solar flare that came close to flying right into the earth.
The big questions are: What would have happened had the flare hit the earth, and could it happen again?
Amina Kahn writes, "The Earth barely missed the "perfect solar storm" that could have smashed into our magnetic field and wreaked havoc with our satellite systems, electronics and power systems, potentially causing trillions of dollars in damage, according to data from NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft," a special instrument that detects and tracks solar flares.
"On July 22, 2012, STEREO-A spotted what looked like an enormous solar eruption sending out a coronal mass ejection at blazing top speeds of roughly 1,800 miles per second – the fastest ever recorded by the spacecraft. By the time it actually passed STEREO-A a mere 17 hours later, the magnetic cloud was still traveling at 750 miles per second. That’s about three times faster than your typical coronal mass ejection, which runs into Earth at an average speed of about 280 miles per second, according to a study in the journal Nature Communications."
For the full article, please click here.. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-solar-storm-near-miss-record-geomagnetic-stereo-sun-20140319,0,2763985.story