WASHINGTON – A dark sunspot cluster on the sun said to nearly the size of the planet Jupiter is coming into alignment with Earth
AR2192, estimated to be 80,000 miles wide, is said to be spewing powerful solar flares in the most extreme X-range, some 14 times the size of Earth.
The Solar Dynamics observatory of NASA has been observing the sunspot as it has increasingly come into alignment with Earth.
The flares create beautiful auroral displays at high latitudes. But in a direct hit on Earth, the high electromagnetic energy particles produced could knock out all vulnerable electronics.
In recent days, the sunspot already has emitted two X-class flares that have caused some high-frequency radio blackouts around the globe.
According to Spaceweather.com, there’s a “95 percent chance of M-class flares, and a 55 percent chance of X-flares” over the next few days.
Since coming more in alignment with Earth, however, AR2192 has not emitted any such flares.
In the case of the United States, the already vulnerable electrical grid system would be especially vulnerable to a direct hit, affecting all life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on the grid to function.
The most immediate impact could be on communications, automatic control systems for pipelines, banking, financing, transportation, emergency services, transportation, delivery of food and water, and space systems.
NASA and the National Science Foundation has stated that a direct hit from a solar flare of this magnitude would cost the U.S. alone more than $2 trillion in the first year, knocking out the massive transformers that send electricity across country. It could kill up to 90 percent of the U.S. population due to starvation, disease and secondary fires and explosions due to the absence of the critical infrastructures.
Written by F. MICHAEL MALOOF
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