Dangerous sunspot aligning with Earth again

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
By Paul Martin

Capable of knocking out satellites, power grid

F. Michael Maloof
Nov. 25, 2014

A massive sunspot capable of knocking out communications and power is once again aligning with Earth.

Renamed Active Region 12192, because it is a sunspot that has come around a second time, it is due to come into alignment in a few days.

Sunspots of this kind spew solar flares that can create what’s called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, that flings hot bursts of millions of tons of highly charged particles into space at 4 million miles per hour.

If the sunspot is aimed at Earth at the time of the CME, it would interfere enough with the magnetic poles to seriously damage satellites and electrical power grids. The damage could include all unprotected electronics and automated control systems that operate life-sustaining critical infrastructures.

In addition to the electrical grid, the critical infrastructures include communications, transportation, food and water deliveries, oil and natural gas pipelines, banking and financial systems, emergency systems and satellites.

The last time AR 12192 aimed its flares toward Earth was in October and early November. Even though numerous flares ejected from the surface, none included CMEs. At the time, the flares skirted Earth and there was no direct hit, NASA scientists say.

AR 12192 then rotated out of view but now is coming back again. A few weeks ago, AR 12192 was large enough to fit 14 Earths into it.

The Rest…HERE

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