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Are solar flares a legitimate threat?

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posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 11:40 AM
This being my first thread I wanted to touch on a subject that has stirred my interests. After reading many ATS threads about doom and gloom, emminent war, environmental damage, alien disclosure, the topic of solar flares effecting are daily lives seems very possible and I will try to explain why I think this topic poses a threat to the very way we live.

Can solar flares effect earth? Yes

Quebec 1989

Nasa thinks so.

Jesse Ventura did a 1 hour special on the possibilities, and one senario was power grid failure to the complete scorching of the planet.

Are people possibly preparing? I think so.

Protecting seeds, doomsday seed vault.

Underground cities, almost every country has 1 or many underground cities.
Canada, USA, Turkey, China, Russia, Norway, Switzerland(big enough for all citizens whom can evac to it in 2 hours), Austrailia. Just google a country with underground city behind it.


Celebrities - Tom wants to live.

Recently it has come to my attention about a large amount of money being spent on Canadian hydro plants...hmmm, so I investigated and yup all across Canada power grids are receiving upgrades to handle population growth and protect from future dangers. I'll use BC hydro for reference.

Well now what are they doing?

Installing "switched shunt capacitor banks", hmm whats that? Oh they protect from emp or solar flares. distribution/the-ice-breaker.html

Apparently the Canadian power companies are concerned about solar flares, are the power companies in your area doing upgrades?

Who else is preparing?

Now if the power companies are protecting their grids from solar flares, what will happen to your cell phone, computer, vehicle computer, satellites, washing machine, tv...etc. What would you do without these items?

Now lets look at recent wars.
Afghanastan - terrorists or to secure future technology?

Iraq - WMD or to stop information from reaching humanity? Romans burned the Library of Alexandria and destroyed information that some say would have advanced people by 500 years. Sumarian texts talk of aliens and flying machines...6000 years ago.

Iran - lots of underground infrastructure, protection from war or solar flares? Now lets say solar flares wipe out power and computers across the world, does USA/Israel/UK really want Iran to have this after an event? I know its not possible, but what if?

Now is all this warring a bloodline war(caucasian vs asian) to see who comes out on top after a possible worldwide event caused by forces we dont understand. Why were so many ancients interested in astronomy, and have they warned us about events on a galactic scale? Could the crossing of the galactic plane cause our sun to have nasty effects on our planet? It is clear to me we are nearing the age of aquarius(the destroyer) and our galaxy with be the bad guy, and whom ever secures resources plan to come out shining.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 11:42 AM
Now I expect both pros and cons, but I would really like people to focus on their preceptions of how they see the world preparing for a possible solar flare event.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 11:57 AM
Solar flares do not really pose a hazard to things on the Earth's surface but they can cause problems for satellites and people in orbit. On the other hand coronal mass ejections (CME) can induce geomagnetic storms which can affect power grids. A powerful geomagnetic storm can indeed cause power surges which can damage power grids. But other than satellites and very long wires (like powerlines), there aren't many other effects (except for spectacular auroral displays). It is not a doomsday scenario and it is not a global event, but because we are so dependent on these things a severe geomagnetic storm could create huge problems. It makes sense to prepare means of mitigating the effects of such an event. But there is no way of predicting when it might happen. It could be next week, next year, or not for 100 years.

Ancient people were interested in astronomy because; a) there was no TV and what else are you going to do at night and b) it told them when it was time to plant their crops. They have not warned us of events on a galactic scale, hucksters have done that. We crossed "the galactic plane" a couple of million years ago and are still moving away from it.

[edit on 7/29/2010 by Phage]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:12 PM
reply to post by Phage

Thank you for the link about crossing the galactic plane. A person can find lots of hype about the crossing and this link has clarified that we have some time

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:19 PM
I wonder how extreme solar flares would affect solar panels? I honestly don't know if it would be really good, or too much for them.

I am so glad to hear that Canada is upgrading the electrical system. It's important to keep our infrastructure up to date, and keep prepared for disasters. Some of the grids power so many people, and so much stuff, when they go down, it's bad.

If power was to be lost, people in cities are going to be too cold, or hot, depending on the time of year, water pump systems go down, no water for the masses. Gas pumps down, trucks can't get food in, or garbage out. Sewage plants shut down ~~shudders~~ Very nice to know they are looking after these systems before this scenario happens

People away from cities should be OK forever if they have alternative heating, cooking methods, gardens. Food storage could be a problem unless it's winter. Water needs to be gravity fed. When the power goes down out in the country, it is the last place to get fixed, people are not depending on electrical as much. Outside becomes the toilet, and usually have alternative water stored anyway.

People with acreage would find they get a lot more done, with no satellite for tv, internet, phone towers probably won't work either. Gardening and looking after the house would be a full time job. People would need to know how to forage, hunt, and fish for food, and learn alternative (old and forgotten) storage techniques, such as cold storage, root cellars, drying meats, and fruits. Collect hand tools. Read books for entertainment.

Too bad there is no way of knowing when a flare will be bad enough to bring it all down, and for how long, who knows. Until it actually happens. Preparation is important, just in case. Might or might not happen.

[edit on 29-7-2010 by snowspirit]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:26 PM
Just in case...and I hope no one minds...I would like to offer...

On a serious note, I appreciate the information in this thread. Thanks, all.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:29 PM
reply to post by snowspirit

It appears solar flares can affect solar panels on satellites but havent found anything on effects on ground based panels.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:32 PM
reply to post by ~Lucidity

LMAO, too funny, thanks!

Panic sounds like my province right now and thats just the regular summer weather here.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:37 PM
reply to post by quest4info

Empathy's hot as hades. I'm almost expecting those burning bushes. About two years ago, I experienced this really strange hot spot on the back of my head on a cold, cold winter's day and even posted it on a thread in ATS to see what that might have been about. Someone here looked up the time and activity, if I recall correctly, and it seemed to coincide with a flare. I'll have to check.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:39 PM
Never hurts to have two weeks ( or better ) back up of the things you need..seems to me I have seen government commercials recommending just as a matter of course to be good little boy scouts and be prepared...

We have winter here, ice storms, a tornado just flattened the block one street over from me a couple of weeks never know
The power goes out for weeks at a time in little areas all the time around here...
Say, is privitization some kind of solar flare?
or is it a freak storm of some kind?
Never had wimp outs before, but we get them now...
but we knew that would happen.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 02:34 PM
Never worried about survival myself as the wife and I are always prepared. We have water source, food source, wood heat/cooking. Garden, meat/egg source, hunt, fish, can goods, dry goods, excetera. My concern is protecting that if SHTF.

What im curious about in this thread is:
#1 are solar flares or CME's a legit concern?

#2 does anyone else see a pattern of preparation for the possibility?

I'll do some research later about other power stations upgrading, but tough when you dont know the companies name, thats why I asked if other know of any power grid upgrades in their areas.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:22 PM
Have you seen this thread? It's about solar storms. Some good information posted there.

[edit on 7/29/2010 by ~Lucidity]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:51 PM

Installing "switched shunt capacitor banks", hmm whats that? Oh they protect from emp or solar flares.

Ummmmm…. NO…..
They are for PFC (Power Factor Correction). Most commercial equipment, distribution systems, and residential equipment produce a lagging power factor (inductive). Current that produces no real load. The capacitors are there to counteract the inductive current so the generators don’t have to supply the reactive current.

Apparently the Canadian power companies are concerned about solar flares, are the power companies in your area doing upgrades?

Who else is preparing?

Preparation isn’t that important for solar flares. It’s the power company’s reaction to the flare that will be the biggest factor in how much the company’s equipment is damaged. As for as EMP goes, For places where lighting is relatively common, most grids are relatively protected from anything an EMP could throw at them.

Now if the power companies are protecting their grids from solar flares, what will happen to your cell phone, computer, vehicle computer, satellites, washing machine, tv...etc. What would you do without these items?

If the power grid is protected from solar flares then nothing will happen to the equipment in your house, because the only way a lot of that equipment could be damaged, is from voltage spikes coming from the grid. And most newer electronic equipment is relitivly resistant to that type of damage anyway. There will be some percentage of losses, but I would say under 10 to 20 percent of equipment in service.

Iran - lots of underground infrastructure, protection from war or solar flares?

Underground power lines are just as susceptible to the low frequency wavelengths as aboveground equipment. When you go down in frequency the ground becomes transparent to magnetic waves.

Now lets say solar flares wipe out power and computers across the world,

Power. Not likely to be affected that much. Computers. No chance in heck of it bothering them directly, besides affecting the power supply to run them..

Now to expand on my statement that it has more to do with the reaction to a flare, not the preparation that will be the deciding factor. In my opinion, the work that power companies have done to keep widespread power outages from happening because of unexpected occurrences, wide load shifts and disturbances in the grid, will cause the grid to suffer more damage from a solar storm.

Continued on next post.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:55 PM
I have dealt with transformers for years. Heck I probably have over a million VA of transformer iron sitting in my back yard that I keep around for projects. So, to say I am getting sick and tired of all this “years without power” crap, is an understatement. The logic they use to come up with those ideas is insane. I have seen figures of….. 10, 20, 30, even 50 percent of all major transformers being destroyed by such event.

Lets keep this in mind. A geomagnetic induced current can only destroy a transformer when it’s energized! It causes the transformer core to go into saturation which makes the core resist being magnetized by the normal operating ac field.

When the AC field is gone, there will be no more damage!!!!! Basically, once the power goes out across North America, then no more transformers will be damaged.

So, by their logic, the power grid will have to stay up until…….. 10, 20…. Or what ever percent of major transformers have melted down….. Yea right! What are they smoking?

There is no way in H, E, double hockey sticks that the grid would stay up with 5 percent of the transformers destroyed, let alone 50%!!!!! Heck, it only took one transformer shorting out to take out the power to the entire east coast.

I would say that all it would take to kill the power to the entire US, is for a handful of transformers to blow/short/trip out, at about the same time. Total transformer destruction would probably be less than 10 units. The dropping of generating and load capacity in close succession will quickly cause the grid to collapse. After that happens, then there will be no more damage. The national grid could easily come back online with 10 or 20 units down, all be it in a limited fashion. Sorry people, but you are going to have to turn off those air conditioners, and water heaters, if you want power for the next couple weeks.

All that is assuming that the geomagnetic currents don’t create enough of a disturbance in and of themselves, to cause the grid to collapse, before any damage can even be done! When you start saturating large transformers, you are likely to start tripping harmonic overload monitors. If that tripping causes several generating/distribution locations to drop out at about the same time, everything is going black.

So, The work that utilities are doing to keep the grid up longer if a major disturbance happens, will just make the situation worse. A quick nation wide power outage is beneficial in this respect, not something to be angry at. That means that power can be restored in a mater of a day or two after the storm subsidies.

And another problem with the doom and gloom idea. Most large substation transformers have temp monitoring systems. Core temp, winding temp, oil temp, atmospheric temp. If any one of the inside temps gets too high, it will fire the cutouts and take it off line automatically. The only way to keep one online is to manually override the safeties. If GIC caused core saturation and heating, it would leave the system faster than Mario Andretti! No, Not all substations are equipped with that. But the majority of larger ones are. You don’t need all of them to trip. If you get 15 or 20 large units dropping at the same time, everything is coming down. All those instability problems agitate each other, which makes the tendency for everything to shut down even worse. And, as I said. Once the power goes out, then no more destruction.

I will expand on EMP damage in my next post.

[edit on 29-7-2010 by Mr Tranny]

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:19 PM
reply to post by Mr Tranny

Thank you for this great insight on power transformers. I had seen a couple sites mention switched shunt capacitor banks and solar flare or emp protection and thats why I mentioned them in this post and was glad to see the upgrades being done, thanks again for clarification.

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 01:53 AM
As for as EMP goes. I will go into detail in regard to the higher frequency components. The lower frequency components (quasi DC) are close to the same affect a solar flare has, so my previous post already covered that end.

The higher frequency components will couple with the transmission lines and induce a large voltage transient in the system.

Now, the majority of the power system across the US is protected by some form of lighting arresters. If it wasn’t, the lighting would reek havoc. Some people state that the rise time of the EMP is to fast (faster than lighting) for the lighting arrester to catch, so it will still cause damage if the transformer is protected by an arrester.

There idea has some problems. Once you start venturing into that infinitesimal period of time that exist before the spark gap can react in the arrester, you venture into another field all together. The high radio frequency realm where everything is a transmission line. That is where my hobby, ham radio, comes in strong in this regard. When I see this situation I stop looking at it as a circuit, and start looking at the situation as a transmission line problem.

As any radio operator knows, it is hard to transfer all your power from your radio to the antenna through a transmission line under controlled conditions, where the system is designed to do so. To expect a system to act as a perfect transmission line, and feed all the incoming EMP into the windings where it can short it out, is almost silly.

An EMP can not directly interact with the core, because the tranny is in a metal can. Lets look at how the voltage can get there.

You have a long line coming up to the pole. That is what the EMP is impinging on. It’s characteristic impendence. Is not a concern at first. The line going from the main line to the cutout and arrester has a transmission line impedance of about 1500 or so ohms. The same for the three feet or so line going to the transformer. The feed through bushing has an impedance of about 60 to 100 ohms. Then it jumps back up to about a 1000 ohms for the line going to the start of the high voltage winding. The line at the start will form a transmission line between it and it’s adjacent windings. Normally, with the closely coupled wires that only use enamel to separate them, the characteristic impedance is very low You are talking 3 to 5 ohms for large units. Or 10 ohms for smaller ones.

To keep it simple, lets assume the entire line between the main line and the transformer winding has a transmission impedance of 1500 ohms.. And a transformer winding of 10 ohms.

I am not talking about electrical resistance of the entire circuit. I am talking about having an imminently long wire being driven by a very fast rise time input. Fast enough where the electrical signal does not have a chance to get to the other end. The load will that wire put on the source.
.... cont.....

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 01:54 AM
When the main line gets hit by the EMP, you will not have an instant bazillion volts. You will have a very large current that is dependent on the free space impedance and the line’s coupling with the free space wave. That reason that is, is because the line looks like a short circuit. Remember, electricity travels at the speed of light. When the wave hits the line broad side, the current is induced on the entire line at the same time, but the affect from the end of the line a mile away has not had a chance to make it there yet. The affect from the open end of the wire will propagate down that wire at the speed of light. Until that affect propagates to where you are standing, all you will see is a lot of current, at zero voltage. That is because the section of line you are looking at is trying to produce a positive voltage at the right side, and a negative at it’s left side. The pieces that adjoin the one you are looking at, is trying to do the same thing. So, if you are trying to push down on your left side, but the person to the left of you to trying to push up on his right the same amount, then no shift in position happens.

All that happens is the electrons start racing down the line to the end(current). When they get to the end, they create a voltage gradient that builds and propagates back down the line. When the voltage gradient forms at the end of the line, the end of the line will decouple from the wave. When the gradient reaches 50kv meter (the same as the incident wave), it will become transparent to the wave, and will not couple any more energy from it. So the maximum voltage rise is gradient times speed of light times time.
1nS times 300million meters a second equals .3 meters. .3 meters times 50kvM equals 15kv.
So the maximum possible rise time at the END of the line is 15kv/nS. That is if you have an instant 0 To 50KV/meter wave front hit the line, which is far beyond any imagined worst case EMP.

The maximum current rise based on free space coupling is 300 amps ns.

At the middle of the line, you will see no voltage rise. Anything that is electrically long in regards wave build up will act as a short and reflect the wave. Anything that is electrically short will form a gradient and become invisible to the wave.

All right, now we have a figure to work with. The worst worst case scenario you could even imagine would be a 15kv/ns rise time signal hitting your equipment. So lets look at what that would do to our transformer sitting at the end of the line.
The deadline for affects is 10nS which is the response time of a normal lighting arrester.

Lets start the ride.

0 time. Wave front hits primary wire.
1nS end of primary wire is at 15KV. Start of Wave should have propagated along the connecting wire to the lighting arrester.

2nS end of wire 30KV. The lighting arrester should be at 15kv and if it is designed for 2.4 to7.2kv service it should have initiated it’s triggering. So the 10nS clock has started.

3ns 45KV at end of wire. 30kv at arrester. The wave front should be reaching the bushing of the transformer by now.

4nS 60kv at end of wire. 45kv at arrester. You have 15kv at the transformer bushing, Wave front should be to transformer winding by now.

5nS 75kv at end of wire 60kv at arrester. 30kv at bushing. If the transformer winding had the same transmission line impedance as the wire running to it, you would have 15kv hitting the winding, but it isn’t the same impedance, so we have a normal even in the RF world called a reflected wave. At 1500 ohms at 15kv, you only have 10 amps in the wave propagating down the connector wire from the source to the transformer winding. It hits the winding and bounces back because of the impedance mismatch. That leaves you with 20 amps at 200 volts. At the start of the winding. Reflected wave front is back to the bushing.

.... cont........

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 01:55 AM
6ns 90kv at end of wire.45kv at bushing. 30kv hitting winding. Reflected down to 40amps at 400 volts. Reflected wave going back to end of wire.

8nS 120kv at end of wire. 60kv at winding. Reflected down to 80 amps at 800 volts. The reflected wave front from the transformer should be hitting the end of the main wire by now.

9 nS 135kv at end of wire. 75kv at start of winding. Reflected down to 100 amps at 1000 volts. When the -14,800 volt wave front hits the end of the wire, interesting things happen. If it was a zero impedance source, it would re-reflect the wave back at the load. That would be 90 amps going to the load plus almost 10 amps re-reflected back to the load. For a total of 100 amps at 135kv.

10ns 150kv at end of wire. 90kv at winding reflected down to 120 amps at 1200 volts.
100 amps+ 20 amps flowing from the end of the wire.

11 ns 165 kv at end of wire 105kv at end of winding reflected down to 140 amps at 1400 volts. 110 + 30 amps leaving source. The re-reflected wave front should be hitting the transformer bushing by now.

12 nS 180kv at end of wire. 165kv at arrestor. 120 kv at start of winding reflected. Down to 160 amps at 1600 volts. Re-reflected wave front should be hitting start of the winding by now.

But, ow ….. Look, the clock has ran out. It’s been 10ns since the arrester started to trigger. So it should be starting into full conduction by now…….. The only energy left in the system now is what is between the arrestor and the transformer. The peak should be 140 amps. 110 amps primary plus 30 amps re-reflected current When 140 amps hits the start of the winding, it will be reflected. Yielding 280 amps at 2800 volts.

That will be barely above the lowest normal distribution level of 2400 volts. That voltage will not make it to the output of the transformer because transformers are low frequency devices. The wave hasn’t even propagated to the end of the transformer’s primary, let alone induce a magnetic field that can deliver any approachable output voltage.

The leading edge of the traveling wave heading down the line will have only made it 12 to 15 feet down the line. Not even to the next pole in the system. The lighting arrestor will have shorted the end of the line out which will mean that you will end the voltage pulse heading down the line. The voltage pulse heading down the line will be 12nS long. With a peak voltage of 180kv. When that pulse travels along and hits line branches, and other transformers connected to the system, it will attenuated. After the first line branch/tap you will have a peak of about 120kv. Next line branch/tap 80kv. After it has passed by 10 to 20 taps/branches, it won’t be much above the normal operating voltage. Every other transformer down the line won’t notice anything.

All that is assuming a 12 foot separation between conductors, and ground wire. As all RF engineers know, the closer the spacing the lower the pickup from a passing magnetic field. If there is 3 feet spacing (typical on residential distribution lines) you will have a max induced voltage spike of 75kv. That is because after about 3nS the wave that hit the first wire, then hits the second wire causing the same voltage boost. And as you know, if you have two 12v batteries with the negatives connected to ground, you will see 0 volts across the two positives.

At the 3nS point the end of the top wire is 75kv and rising at 15kv/ns. The bottom ground wire is just being hit by the wave. The end of the bottom wire starts rising at the same 15kv/nS. That will mean the voltage difference between the hot and ground wires will top out at 75kV.

And all that activity will be just at the ends of the lines. Not along the middle. The people in the middle will not notice anything, that is because the line will appear as a short circuit (infinitely long compared to the wave front) and reflect the wave.
.... cont........

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:03 AM
As for as the secondary low voltage goes. The secondary lines are usually closely bound (triplex, and romex) the ground and hot are close to each other. So the incedent wave will couple into both. The voltage between the ends of the wire and everything else will be large, but the voltage between the end of the wires it’s self, will be almost zero. So don’t expect any damage from differential mode transients coming from the wall plug. You may see common mode transient damage but that will be it.

Pretty much every power company in the world that has protected their systems from lighting damage, will be EMP resistant. (not emp proof) You may see some damage at the ends of the lines, but that will be it.

Places that don’t have lighting suppression systems (like California), may not be so lucky.

The simple truth is the fact that the EMP is a magnetic wave. The only thing that is specifically designed to catch a magnetic wave is an antenna. Other things are usually designed to avoid interacting with them up. So they don’t.

When ever you have a hot and a ground ran together(either coaxially or parallel.), you form a transmission line. The mutual coupling will reject any outside influence. Power lines, telephone lines, and antenna cables are among those. The only threat you have is from induced common mode voltage. That is limited by the length of the line connected to the device in question, and other factors. If there is nothing for the device in question to discharge the common mode voltage to, then it won’t be hurt. If it discharges the common mode voltage safely though a grounded case, then it won’t be hurt. The only way the device will be hurt is if the common mode voltage is discharged through internal components to a second line connected to the device. And that is only when the device has no built in surge suppressor to shut the current from it’s sensitive components. But none of that will hurt the power grid. At maximum, it will damage cordless telephone basses and other line connected devices.

Computers, for example are vertualy immune. They have a metal case. They have MOV suppressors on the power input. The power cable usually has a ground which will carry common mode current. Most computer peripherals have shielded cords. So they won’t be affected. The only thing that will be damaged on a computer is a modem or Ethernet card. Normal fair for lighting strikes.

[edit on 30-7-2010 by Mr Tranny]

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:13 AM
reply to post by Mr Tranny

Neither solar flares nor geomagnetic storms produce an EMP. One component of a nuclear EMP is similar to a geomagnetic storm; the fluctuation of the Earth's magnetic field which induces currents in powerlines, wire fences, and pipelines.

[edit on 7/30/2010 by Phage]

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