posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 03:36 PM
Well this is a bit scary.
The solar storms in which we have knowledge of in the last 100 years are nothing in comparison to this massive storm.
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 in Nature. Carbon-14 (14C) is created when high-energy
radiation strikes the Earth’s upper atmosphere, converting nitrogen-14 into carbon-14, which eventually makes its way into plants via
photosynthesis. Earlier this year, a team of Japanese physicists discovered a spike in 14C in tree rings of Japanese cedars dating from the 774-775
growing season. But they were unable to explain where that 14C might have come from because all possible explanations appeared unlikely.
But Adrian Melott, a physicist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, who is the lead author of the new study, says the Japanese team made a
miscalculation in ruling out one of these possibilities — a giant solar storm. The problem, Melott says, is that the Japanese team treated solar
storms as if they shone like lightbulbs, 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 1000 times
larger than anything known, to only 10 to 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 sunlike stars are capable of generating super-storms 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.
The article goes on to say that the storm in question was possibly 60 times larger than the 1989 event which knocked out Quebec.
With all the technology we have now,a storm like that would be disastrous.