Could A Super Solar Flare Take Out The Earth?

Solar Flare
Solar Flare

Superflare of 2012

With over 4.5 million views, this NASA video of an absolutely massive 2012 solar flare – having a coronal mass ejection of over 900 miles per hour is simply amazing.  Oh, and think about that 900 miles per hour mass ejection from the sun figure … that’s over 1,320 feet traveled every second.  I’d call that fast.

So when a new study comes out in Nature commons that talks about “superflares” that are one to six orders-of-magnitude larger that the largest flares observed on the Sun throughout the space age”, thinking about how that might affect us here on Earth comes to mind pretty quickly.

They go on to say “The largest known solar flare was the Carrington event in AD 1859 … This flare and the associated coronal mass ejection were so large that they caused world-wide auroras and allowed telegraphs to operate on the currents induced by the accompanying geomagnetic storm.”

Now that’s big.  But that’s not a “superflare”.

According to Daniel Clery on his Solar flare article in Sciencemag.com, even though other stars produce “superflares” up to 10,000 times the largest solar flare ever detected, “about 10% of those had magnetic fields similar to or weaker than the sun’s”.

Not sure about you, but that’s a bit disconcerting to me.  The nature.com study didn’t discuss the odds of that happening, but as Daniel said in his article … “So, back up your data and stock up on candles”!

Take a minute to watch the below NASA video of the 2012 Solar flare event, it really is worth the time …

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