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Video: Solar Flare Set to Hit Earth Thursday

by Mike Hoffman on January 9, 2014

Solar FlareThe Earth is in the direct path of a major solar flare that is set to hit the planet Thursday and could put military satellites in danger.

The X-class solar flare, exploded off the sun on Tuesday. It is scheduled to hit the Earth Thursday. NASA has already delayed one launch in order to prevent damage from the increased amount of radiation.

In 2012, U.S. military satellites were damaged by a March solar flare, Gen. William Shelton, head of U.S. Air Force Space Command, confirmed. He said military satellites are hardened to sustain certain amounts of radiation, but not all parts are protected as much as he’d like.

In many cases, NASA and Air Force operators will shut down satellites just ahead of when a solar flare is about to hit in order to protect sensitive parts.

“They can go into a ‘safe mode.’ Once the storm dies down, they can turn it back on,” Shelton said back in 2012.

Solar flares are not only damaging to satellites, they can also wreak havoc on electric grids across the globe. One NASA official said a large enough solar flare could knock out electric grids across the U.S. and leave the country without power for months at a time.

While the solar flare could have the potential to be extremely destructive, it will put on quite a light show as the Northern Lights will expand as far south as Colorado.

Below is a video released by NASA of the flare exploding off the sun.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

hibeam January 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Some day the Big Kahuna will hit and it will be a different world. We are doing nothing to prepare for it. Keep your powder dry.

Reply

DougieR January 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm
blight_ January 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Own a farm. Protect it well. And anticipate going back to hand tools and draft animals like it's 1850.

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oblatt2 January 10, 2014 at 4:37 am

The new American peasantry.

Reply

blight_ January 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

Landowners do better than non-landowners. Non-landowners are slaves.

Chuckiechan Chan January 10, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I have my house covered in tinfoil.

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Jill Hasselbach Villalba January 9, 2014 at 6:43 pm
Hunter76 January 9, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Jill,

Living in the US is a big plus. It's no secret to the leading competitive nations that some countries (inc US, Russia, Canada, Aus) have natural long-term advantages over others.

Reply

Stormcharger January 10, 2014 at 1:25 am

We've only been gathering hard data on the sun for a few decades, it's entirely possible that it has released flares like this in the last 10,000 years or so of all recorded history. By all means, keep your towel handy, but there's no reason to panic, or more precisely panic others.

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MBH January 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

This wasn't a "flare" hitting the earth, it was a Coronal Mass Ejection caused by a flare. And it hit Thursday afternoon around 3 PM EST, with pretty much no effect.

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Dfens January 10, 2014 at 8:43 am

Have you ever looked at the sun through a telescope equipped with a commercial hydrogen alpha filter? Very cool. Much better than your typical neutral density filter because it gives a lot of detail. You can see the surface boiling and see flares as they erupt. They've come down a lot in price over the years but I still can't afford one. My one chance to look through one it was on a 20" Schmidt-Cassegrain research telescope. It's too bad solar flares aren't the only threat to satellites these days.

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curt January 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I guess we'll have to look somewhere else for what really happened from a scientific point of view…

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