Sun Ramps Up Activity, Threatening Power Grid, Flights


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

The sun is ramping up in energy after more than a decade of relative peace, according to a report published Wednesday.

Experts told Insider that the sun, our closest star, is entering a new period of peak activity that could last several years. During this time, powerful geomagnetic storms could have serious consequences for radio communications, electrical power on Earth and our day-to-day lives.

Every 11 years or so, the sun goes through what’s called a “solar maximum,” where more sunspots appear and solar storms are created. These storms can eject huge amounts of solar material directly at Earth, impacting our essential technologies.

Insider noted that “scientists, however, fear that our reliance on electricity and interconnectivity could mean we’re far more vulnerable to their effects this time around.” Almost like what I’ve been writing for the last year or so …

“We’re already seeing a lot more big sunspots,” University of Reading space physics professor Mathew Owens said, according to the outlet. One of those spots was so large that it was captured on camera and was visible to the human eye. Images were shared by NASA.

Such violent space weather “can ground flights,” Owens noted, commenting that the Federal Aviation Administration “won’t allow flights if they don’t have both radio and satellite communications.”

Significant storms have the power to burn out energy grids. “As the geomagnetic storm messes with the ionosphere’s magnetic charge, it creates currents in the ionosphere. Those currents in our upper atmosphere interact with the particles in the ground. The interaction between these particles creates strong electrical currents that can flood infrastructure on Earth,” Insider described pretty perfectly.

Past storms of such magnitude have burned out all forms of telecommunications, directly targeting transformers. In 1972, U.S. military pilots observed a series of sea mines explode in the water with no apparent cause, but was later attributed to a huge geomagnetic storm, Insider noted.

As I wrote in a previous article, a strong solar storm has the power to send the world back into the Dark Ages. It could take months or years to undo the technological damage, in which time, the entire world’s communication, transport, supply structures, and our entire digital footprint and knowledge could be eradicated from existence.

Everything from hospitals to your refrigerator would lose power. And things would probably descend socially pretty swifty (yes, even faster than they already are). (RELATED: Scream About ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ At Your Own Peril, Illiberal Idiots)

But don’t think this is just another fear story in what has already become a pretty terrifying year. The Northern Lights were visible in southern regions of the U.K. in late February, a serious symptom of our sun’s activity, the BBC noted. In the most extreme events, a massive geomagnetic storm is arguably one of the scariest cataclysms.