This story is odd, maybe concerning even, on multiple fronts. Russian scientists are stepping out and making a prediction that over the next two weeks, a series of solar flares will be released with potentially catastrophic consequences on earth. NASA on the other hand, says “nah”. So, who’s right?
It’s a relatively common occurrence – geomagnetic storms on the Sun resulting from Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs- clouds of plasma released with solar flares) release charged particles that hit earth causing a variety of unusual consequences including damage to electronic machinery and disruptions in GPS and communication networks. CMEs also cause damage in human beings including higher risk of stroke, increased intensity of migraine headaches, heightened depression, confused thinking, erratic behavior, and disruption to sleep cycles. To say they are a concern would be an understatement.
This week, the Russian Academy of Sciences released a chart showing a major solar flare will be emitted on March 18 followed by 2-3 more in the days following. Russian scientists later confirmed they were concerned the impact from the CMEs could be severe. NASA however, says the storm will not be powerful enough to disrupt communications but admit that the exact power of the storm won’t be known until it strikes earth. So, who’s right? We don’t know. But in 1989, the entirety of Quebec experience a country-wide blackout resulting from a massive solar flare eruption so keep your fingers crossed and sunglasses handy.