Massive Solar Flare
The Flare, one of the largest on records, missed Earth by less than a week. The flare passed through the Earth’s orbit on the 23rd of July 2012, and carried on into space. It did, however, hit a solar observatory satellite that sent measurement data back to NASA. After analysing the data, NASA scientists were both relieved and horrified by the findings. The flare dwarfed all others since measurements began 50 years ago, and had it been emitted by the sun a week earlier, the Earth would have been directly in its path. As a result, humanity would have been sent back to a time before electronics were house-hold items.
A solar flare is the result of a powerful eruption on the surface of the sun. As a result, the flare’s destructive progression rips through space in three stages:
* The first wave of destruction comes in the form of extreme UV radiation and X-rays travelling at the speed of light. If these waves hit Earth, the ionosphere becomes ionized, resulting in all radio and GPS signal being scrambled. This would result in a complete signal blackout.
* Hours later, the charged sub-atomic particles arrive. These electrons and protons can cause short-circuits in electronics and would wipe out satellites.
* Finally, the most destructive powerful coronal mass ejections (CME) arrive. This is made of billions of tons of clouds of magnetized plasma, which can take up to two days to arrive after the initial flare.
The Science behind CME:
The CME, being by far the most dangerous of the ejections of the flare, can fry electronics, rendering all gadgets and appliances useless. Anything that runs on electricity would be damaged beyond repair, ushering an apocalypse worthy of a Hollywood movie.
The chances of another flare being emitted by the sun are not as remote as we might think; given the lack of media coverage it receives. In February 2014, physicist Pete Riley published a study in the journal Space Weather, saying the sun emits a major solar flare every few years, and the probability of it ripping through Earth in the ten years is 12%. “It is a sobering figure,” Riley stated.
Share your views in the comment box