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Author Topic: Massive Solar Storms  (Read 934 times)
K9AIM
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« on: July 27, 2014, 09:21:03 AM »

If we were to experience a solar storm like that known as the Carrington Event in 1859, is there any type of radio communication that could work or would it all be disabled and for how long?  Specifically I was wondering if some digital modes would work in conditions where traditional modes would not or if something could be created that might work in such conditions?

CNN might not be the recommended place to learn about this, but the following article was a good read and it is good to see the topic get mainstream coverage...  

"That was a close one! Study: Massive solar storm barely missed us in 2012"
http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/25/tech/2012-solar-storm/index.html

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W0BTU
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 11:29:30 AM »

During such a storm, pretty much all communications would be unusable for more than one reason.

Afterwards, you better have emergency power for your ham equipment, as that's likely to be all that works for a very long time afterwards. You can kiss the Internet, all phone service, your electrical service, etc. goodbye. And it gets worse.

There are a lot of doomsday prophecies for all the worry-warts in this world. But a repeat of the Carrington Event (Google it) is a very real possibility.

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K9AIM
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 02:26:45 PM »

During such a storm, pretty much all communications would be unusable for more than one reason.

Afterwards, you better have emergency power for your ham equipment, as that's likely to be all that works for a very long time afterwards. You can kiss the Internet, all phone service, your electrical service, etc. goodbye. And it gets worse.

There are a lot of doomsday prophecies for all the worry-warts in this world. But a repeat of the Carrington Event (Google it) is a very real possibility.


it sounds like a real potential disaster, yet the first storm hit Aug 28, 1859 and evidently by the afternoon of Sept 2 it sounds like telegraph communication was back to normal  Huh

Quote
On the morning of September 2, the magnetic mayhem resulting from the second storm created even more chaos for telegraph operators. When American Telegraph Company employees arrived at their Boston office at 8 a.m., they discovered it was impossible to transmit or receive dispatches. The atmosphere was so charged, however, that operators made an incredible discovery: They could unplug their batteries and still transmit messages to Portland, Maine, at 30- to 90-second intervals using only the auroral current. Messages still couldn’t be sent as seamlessly as under normal conditions, but it was a useful workaround. By 10 a.m. the magnetic disturbance abated enough that stations reconnected their batteries, but transmissions were still affected for the rest of the morning.
http://www.history.com/news/a-perfect-solar-superstorm-the-1859-carrington-event

i suppose our power grids could go down for weeks though today unless protective measures are built into them to keep them from being so vulnerable.  If it happened in winter time it would not be good!  which leads me to wonder if the southern hemisphere was equally impacted in 1859?  In other words, does a Carrington type event most concentrated at the part of the Earth getting the direct hit or does it diffuse across for planet-wide impact?

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WA2ISE
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 05:20:39 PM »

Well, fibre optic lines shouldn't be impacted.  Undersea fibre cables IIRC run the optic repeater amplifiers by way of a constant current sourced and sunk at locations where the cables enter the ocean at each country.  These see thousands of volts in normal operation anyway.   And if you have a power plant within your county, you may still have power.  Long distance electric distribution would get clobbered, but if the control operators of the lines and local power plants are reasonably alert, they should be able to disconnect from the long distance lines if a big solar flare is predicted and various line metering shows funny things starting to happen. 
If you live out in rural areas where the nearest power plant is a few hundred miles away, you'll probably lose power.  Larger cities with local power plants will be at least partially alive. 

It would still be a major PITA and the economy won't like it...
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KC9YTJ
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2014, 06:44:04 PM »

This may make for interesting reading.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/14/homeland-security-takes-on-the-carrington-event/
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