October 24, 2014 by JImbo
By massive they mean MASSIVE!
Here’s a comparison for you.
The sun is that HUGE massive black thing (darkened to highlight the sunspot.) That is the approximate size of the sunspot compared to our PLANET.
To say that this “could be disruptive to the Earth” is one of the biggest understatements of all time. Granted, space is big.
However, even a “near miss” can fry our satellites and communication systems. Close enough and it can fry ALL ELECTRONICS. I know I’ve mentioned this before. It bears hearing again.
While people are worried about possible “Climate Change”… this is a WORLD KILLER. Well… not “world” I guess. The planet will be fine. So will the animals.
It’ll just destroy 90% of humanity and our civilization.
This sunspot is eventually going to emit a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) or… EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) It’s a giant bolt of charged plasma.
I don’t have exact figures, but I can guess that within say the distance from Earth to Moon, that’ll be bad.
We might be okay a few million miles out, but within a few hundred thousand it’s not pretty. The plasma acts as a moving ball of static electricity. Anything nearby is zapped.
I can roughly guesstimate our odds of something bad happening.
Let’s see. The CME will have to go in one direction eventually. I would say anything within that 300,000 miles (.2 degrees) would be BAD.
Anything within .1 degrees (165,000 miles) would be VERY BAD.
Anything within .05 degrees (about 80,000 miles) would be CATASTROPHIC.
As in… the end of our civilization.
Well… we might get lucky and be on the other side of the planet. In that case it MIGHT miss us and wipe out all of the other half of the globe. Or, it hits us and misses the other half of the globe.
Or, it charges the entire atmosphere and we ALL die.
Meh… who knows?
Anyway, let’s go with that .05 degrees. We know there are 360 degrees in a circle so if the EMP/CME is going to fly off into space, it has a tiny chance to hit us. Now let’s double that because it can go left/right or up/down and a miss on either side is still close enough.
It also has to be both horizontally and vertically in our “plane.”
So that’s a 3,600 to 1 chance it “hits” us in the “horizontal” plane and a 3,600 to 1 chance in the “vertical” plane. (X Axis, Y Axis… if any science geeks want to jump in that’s fine but I’m keeping it simple here.)
The odds that it’ll hit exactly on BOTH axes at once is then 3,600 times 3,600 or about 1 in 13,000,000.
That seems pretty remote, you’re right. As I said, space is really big. There’s lots of other places for that big mass of charged plasma to go besides right at us.
On the other hand, anything within four times that distance could be “threatened” and ruin our day. So, let’s call it 3.25 million to 1 odds.
I like them odds. However, I’d like them better if I knew it was 13 million to 1 instead.
You see we COULD “harden” our power grid for a few pennies on the dollar. The military has many hardened systems to protect against EMPs just in case nuclear bombs go off.
The same technology can be done with the civilian side of the house. It’d cost about 2% more though to begin with. Then maybe .5-1% long term for every electronic device.
Your $600 iPhone would be $3-$6 more to make it EMP proof. That’s kinda trivial, but the power lines that bring the power to your house ARE kinda important. That’s not trivial.
They won’t protect against a “direct hit” but those “near misses” I showed above would probably be mostly protected against. So, instead of frying stuff within .2 degrees (3.3 million miles) of Earth we would be protected within say .05 degrees.
Granted it seems rather academic… 13 million to 1 vs 3 million to 1.
However, that is four times as safe. It’s also cumulative. Every day those odds continue to add up. The Sun is ALWAYS giving off these pulses of energy.
Any given DAY there might only be a 3 million to 1 chance of it happening.
However, in a year that goes down to 8200 to 1.
In a decade there’s an 820:1 chance of it happening on any given day.
In the average human lifetime (about 80 years or so) the odds are about 100:1 that a person WILL be alive to see an EMP mess up the Earth.
Again, granted that’s 100:1 odds in a lifetime.
But… is that a risk you’d like to take?
What if we could invest a few bucks and make it 400:1?
Is it worth it now?
Sunspot Baby by Bob Seger