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Space Earth NASA Science

Solar X-Flare Blasts Directly Toward Earth 223

Posted by timothy
from the taunting-bruce-willis dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes with this excerpt from Space Weather: "Big sunspot AR1520 unleashed an X1.4-class solar flare on July 12th at 1653 UT. Because this sunspot is directly facing Earth, everything about the blast was geoeffective. For one thing, it hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward our planet. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend."
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Solar X-Flare Blasts Directly Toward Earth

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  • Is it so wrong? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday July 13, 2012 @10:03PM (#40645915)

    Is it wrong of me to be disheartened that this CME isn't stronger?

    I won't lie, a fairly large part of me (the part where the evil genius lives) wants a very very powerful geomagnetic storm to devistate our powergrids, knock out communications, fry satelites, and cause general chaos and havok.

    I understand that engineers often have antisocial tendencies, and I fully comprehend the ramifications of this unusual desire, but I still retain it.

    Is it so wrong?

  • Re:Is it so wrong? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday July 13, 2012 @11:02PM (#40646183)

    I actually agree with him to a certain extent, but instead of a CME, I'd rather see an asteroid hit the earth. I don't actually want anyone to die; I'd like it to hit an uninhabited area such as Antarctica or Siberia (like the Tunguska Event). The reason is simple: I think we humans need a good kick in the pants to work on our space program, so we can deal with problems like this (and also so we can achieve other things, like extracting resources offworld), but it doesn't look like it's going to happen until people get a good wake-up call. We've had a bunch of near-misses, including one a few weeks ago IIRC, but we haven't had a good asteroid strike since Tunguska in the early 1900s. Maybe if another Tunguska-sized event happened, people would finally get a clue, realize that there's much bigger ones out there (such as Apophis, which really is on a collision course with us) and get serious about dedicating resources to space programs. The old saying is "necessity is the mother of invention", but the corollary to that is that humans don't usually bother preparing for anything unless they've learned the hard way that they need to.

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