Earth was almost hit by a shattering solar storm two years ago this week on July 23 and if it would have stuck, life on the planet would have been thrown into a catastrophe. Life as humans know it would have changed forever and scientists state that people would still be picking up the pieces. It was a giant space weather disaster that very few individuals knew about at that time.
In 2012, the Sun let go of two large plasma clouds that researchers have named coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The clouds encompassed a solar storm which was believed to have been the strongest in over 150 years, stated recent media reports. If the clouds had struck the Earth’s atmosphere they would have caused anything that performed by using electrical power, such as satellites or any digital items, totally useless. The cost of such a mega disaster might top out at over $2 trillion. In comparison, that would be at least 20 times higher than the economic calamity created by Hurricane Katrina.
The magnitude of such a catastrophe would most likely be devastating for transportation, commerce, food and water supplies, agriculture, fuel, human health and medical services, local and federal security and basic daily life overall. However the Earth was able to miss the solar attack only because it originated from a part of the Sun that happened to be facing away from the planet at that time. If it had transpired only seven short days sooner, the results would have been devastating.
Astronomers have stated that by closely examining recent studies, the majority of them are more convinced than ever that the Earth and all which dwell on it were unbelievably lucky that the 2012 eruption happened the time that it did. If the eruption had been just a one week earlier, the Earth would have been straight in the line of fire. These research study results were printed up in the Dec. 2013 edition of the journal Space Weather.
The plasma clouds would have been even more powerful than normal if they had hit Earth because scientists explained that they would have followed an earlier CME by only four short days. They would have went through space along a path that had just been cleared up of anything to slow down the clouds would have caused them to gain speed and power and made them even stronger if they had struck the Earth’s atmosphere.
The last recorded CME occurrence happened back in Sept, 1859. Scientists speak of that as the Carrington Event, so named after the English astronomer Richard Carrington. He was the scientist who documented all the devastation it triggered. He wrote about that during that CME event, the Northern Lights were allegedly reported to have been sighted as far south as Cuba. That solar cloud also was reported to have caused the wires of telegraph machines to spark which in turn caused numerous telegraph offices to catch on fire.
Scientists believe that the chance of the Earth being struck by a CME in the next 10 years at about 12 percent. Because of this, they are beginning to now discuss the various global governments’ capabilities in dealing with the possible disaster that would follow such an incident. This is probably a good idea because Earth certainly came close to having just such an event two years ago this week when it was almost hit by the above mentioned solar storm. If that had stuck, life on the planet would have been thrown into an upheaval.
By Kimberly Ruble