Worst case EMP scenario? Half in U.S. dead
Threat surges as sun spots zero in on Earth
F. MICHAEL MALOOF
May 16, 2013
WASHINGTON – The sun has kicked into high gear and produced four so-called X-class solar flares over the past week from a solar spot which is expected to come more into alignment with Earth as the sun’s activity peaks this year and next.
The intense sunstorms are expected to last as long as 2020.
Until now, the sun has remained relatively dormant, but with four X-class eruptions in one week, it is beginning to reach its “solar storm maximum” in this latest 11-year cycle of activity.
Scientists of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Solar Dynamics Observatory say that these latest eruptions are the first X-class flares that the sun has produced in this cycle .
Of the four X-class flares, the first registered at X1.2, scientists said. It was the weakest, but as the week continued more powerful flares registered at X3.2, which scientists say has been the strongest of the year.
The numbers assigned to the flares correlate to their strength. An X2, for example, is twice as intense as an X1, while an X3 is three times as intense.
The strongest flare recorded during the sun’s 11-year cycle was an X6.9. This occurred on August 9, 2011. The second strongest was an X5.4 on March 7, 2012.