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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 08:06 PM

Massive solar flare could have caused eighth century radiation burst

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/11/mysterious-radiation-spike-could-have-been-solar-super-storm.html

Massive solar flare could have caused eighth century radiation burst

28 Nov 2012 | 18:00 GMT | Posted by Ananyo Bhattacharya | Category: Earth, environment & ecology, Physics & Mathematics, Space and astronomy, Uncategorized

A mysterious spike in atmospheric carbon-14 levels 12 centuries ago might be a sign the Sun is capable of producing solar storms dozens of times worse than anything we’ve ever seen, a team of physicists calculates in a paper published this week in Nature.

<snip>

The problem, Melott says, is that the Japanese team treated solar storms as if they shone like light bulbs, radiating energy uniformly in all directions. But actually, they produce ‘blobs’ of energetic plasma that explode outwards unevenly. Adjusting for that, he says, reduces the size of the solar storm needed to produce the observed 14C spike from 1,000 times larger than anything known, to only 10–20 times larger — meaning that a giant solar storm is suddenly back on the table as a reasonable explanation.

Furthermore, observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope have found that Sun-like stars are capable of generating superstorms of this type every few hundred to 1,000 years. This doesn’t mean the Sun does the same, “but it suggests it’s reasonable”, Melott says.

<snip>

If the 774–75 event was indeed a flare, it’s a disturbing find. Such a flare would be about 60 times more powerful than the 1989 solar storm that knocked out power to much of Quebec for nine hours on a cold winter night. Multiply that by 60 and add two decades of increased technological vulnerability, and the effects might be disastrous. “A lot of people could die,” Melott says. “You could have power out for months or longer — no refrigerated food, no food being transported to all the people who live in big cities.”

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Reply Massive solar flare could have caused eighth century radiation burst (Original post)
bananas Dec 2012 OP
fearnobush Dec 2012 #1
TDale313 Dec 2012 #2
MFM008 Dec 2012 #3
kickysnana Dec 2012 #4
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #5

Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 08:17 PM

1. The Carrington Event of 1859 was similar in scope.

It knocked out most of the US telegram service for a time. The same event today would cause cataclysmic destruction to the planets electic grid and take some three to five years to rebuild.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 08:34 PM

2. Ok, it has to be asked...

Mayan prophecy?

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:06 PM

3. damn Mayans

should have seen the spanish coming.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:49 PM

4. Oh no we are all going to die! What to do, what to do?

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:20 PM

5. Are there historical mention of spectacular aurorae in AD 775?

That would be an interesting thing to look for, it would clinch the solar flare hypothesis.

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