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Solar Superstorm

This one isn't a one-in-a-millon chance that it will happen

A solar superstorm sounds improbable, maybe even like science fiction, but guess what: It's a very big hazard that could happen any day now. It's not like a 75% chance or anything, but it's defiantly not a 1/million chance. Anyway, what is a solar superstorm? Has it happened? Well, there is history of solar superstorms.

In 1859, astronamer Richard Carrington started noticing giant sunspots on the sun. Every once and a while, there were little flames leaping off of the sunspots. Today, we know very well that those were clouds of charged particles, which cause auroras. Every once and a while, the plasmas are too strong or build up on Earth's magnetic field and cause auroras on around the Artic Circle. Well, Carrington observed that the largest flare broke off the sun right before noon. Normally such a flare would take 3 or 4 days to travel, but that one only took one and a half. Between September 1-2, there were auroras as far south as the Carribean! Also, it was the largest geomagnetic storm recorded, called the Solar storm or superstorm of 1859, or the Carrington Event. Well, eventually the magnetic forces broke the transformers, frying the power lines and shorting them out. That caused fires across the United States and Europe.

The sunspot cycle

What are the chances? To start off, we must talk about what a sunspot is. A sunspot is an area on the sun with a lot of magnetic activity. It is cooler than the rest of the sun, and because of that, look dark. Actually, they're pretty bright, but in contrast with the rest of the sun, they seem black. After the 1859 solar storm, they looked in some ice samples to see how often they happen. They found that serious solar storms like that happen approx. every 500 years. Right now, there is quite a lot of sunspot activity, and they are estimating that the most intense activity will be in 2012. It's not very certainly going to hit, but it would have horrible effects if it did happen. For example: The electrical system would probably be down for years, and the internet would probably be down for quite a long time too (maybe longer!). So even though it's not certainly going to hit, it's probably a good idea to prepare. How? Look below.

How can we save ourselfs? Well, there's no clear answer. One thing you can do is start saving up on food. Also, you can start buying solar panels. It does sound weird that the sun's saving you while it had just destroyed the world, but it will supply energy. You'll also probably want to buy batteries for using electricity at night. And to charge the batteries you need a charge controller. And then, so you can run things in 120VAC (wall current), you'll need an inverter. It will probably cost a lot, but it might also save you. And besides, if that solar storm doesn't come, then you can start turning your home into an off grid home! How much would it cost? Look on the side.

Item Aprox. Price
500w of Solar Panels $500-$3000
Inverter up to $100
Charge Controller $100-$500
Battery*2 $120-$150
Carrot Sprout

The other thing you might have to do is grow your own vegetables. And purify your own water. That's a little bit of a problem if you don't have any water near your house. What you could do is make some kind of "contract" with your neighbors where you have anyone that volunteers buy some hose. When there finally is a disaster, you can have lots of holes in the hose where people can get water. The. There are a few problems, though. First, you need to purify the water (especially if you live near an ocean!). Also, you need to pump the water. So now, it is very costly. You have hose, pumps, purifiers, and then you need solar panels to power the pumps and purifiers. Sounds hard, right? Well, you could have kooia.info set up a page where people donate money to different cities where they could get water. And then you could volunteer to be one of the organizers (you organize setting it up when it's needed). You could even get kooia.info to write you a page for yourself on it's contact us page.

To get water to everyone, you'd need to buy a bunch of land, where you could build a water tower. Then you'd need to buy lots of pumps. It would probably cost somewhere around $100,000. Or, better yet, we could all tell our governments to try to set it up. The City of San Diego could pay for most of it if every household payed 50 cents!

That's about it. You can suggest things in our contact us page.