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Solar flares have potential of knocking out modern transportation

13 Oct 2013

Contributor: Stan Stevens Ph.D.

Planet Earth had a close call with the ill effects of a Carrington-class solar flare that erupted into space May 12, 2013 and sent a wave of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) toward Earth. It was the result of a Corona, a long prominence-filament of solar material that hovered in the Sun's atmosphere. Fortunately, Earth was not in its direct the path this time. This threat is nothing new. The Carrington solar flare was named in honor of 19th Century astronomer Richard Carrington who observed a sudden flash over a large area of sunspots. On Sept. 1, 1859, a solar flare eruption melted telegraph lines in North America and Europe.

In 1972, a large solar flare knocked out long-distance telephone connections across the state of Illinois. Just 17 years later, another solar storm knocked out electric power transmission from the a Canadian power generating station. Six million people were in the dark for nine hours. A satellite observing a solar flare from Earth’s orbit was knocked out by a strong flare in 2006.

NOAA 13 SXI instrument, during an X1-class solar flare

As a transient disturbance burst of electromagnetic energy, EMP damages unshielded electronic circuitry. EMP can also be man-made by nuclear detonation. A severe EMP attack can wipe out unprotected power grids, modern motorized vehicles in motion, and most electronic devices such as smart phones, laptop computers, and electronic pads of which would take years to replace.

We can see solar flares coming with our X-ray and radio telescopes in space and on Earth, but we can do nothing to stop them. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun usually takes 3 to 4 days to reach the Earth, but some could hit in a little as 18 hours. The severity is dependent on the angle of the storm as the Earth orbits around the Sun. So one could be commuting home when all of a sudden, the planet gets hit with a solar flare EMP emission from the Sun. Unless your vehicle’s electronics are shielded against EMP, they cease to work.

What if you’re home watching TV and the planet gets hit? For starters, the TV will conk out and the TV broadcast itself will go blank if electronics in the cable TV system and the TV broadcaster are not shielded. Moments later, the electricity in your home goes out. Provided that your car was parked and engine not running, chances are favorable that it may work—but then, maybe not. The reality sets in. No power. No motorized transportation. No phones. Even though power and mainframe systems may be restored, it will take much longer for the automotive and telcomm industries to replace damaged electronics most of which are unshielded. Unless you own horses, this leaves only one option: the bicycle—a 19th Century invention by German Baron Karl von Drais of Mannheim in 1817. It’s not far fetched to envision that bicycles would become our main mode of transportation if we were in direct path of the solar flare like the one that erupted in May. Scientists have cautioned for decades that planet Earth is vulnerable. It’s not the question of if, but when Earth will be hit again by a solar flare. If you don’t own a bicycle, it’s time that you buy one! It may end up becoming the only transportation option available; however, don’t wait until it is too late. There will be a run on bike shops.

EMP can be shielded; however, the costs are tremendous. While there is no push in the US to protect its infrastructure, the UK had already started protecting its infrastructure.

Not only scientists have provided the wisdom that planet Earth is so vulnerable to EMP, they added that we are vulnerable to asteroids and gamma ray bursts from explosions in distant galaxies. As written many centuries ago, the Sun will be “allowed to scorch people with fire.”—Revelation 16:8.

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