Thursday, March 8, 2012

Break out the tin-foil, another solar fare threatens!

The media seems to have gone all tabloid when it comes to reporting solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CME).

This story in today's media is also filled with gloom and doom, suggesting that:

"a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and flights"

Yawn!

Yes, a significant CME has the potential to disrupt some services, both on the ground and in orbit, but so far all the recent "alarms" raised in the media have proven to be fizzers.

In fact, we now run the very real risk that, thanks to the media's crying wolf too often, warnings of a really serious solar event might go unheeded by the general public.

Of course that raises the question - just what could you do about it anyway?

Well a really bad CME does have the potential to disrupt power supplies over a very wide area so I guess having a small petrol-powered generator, even if just to keep the freezer cold and the TV set running, would be worthwhile.

If it were a massive CME then maybe you could try wrapping your valuable electronic devices in several layers of alumninium foil -- but I doubt this would really be necessary or effective as a way of preventing damage.

Laying in a store of DVDs might be a good idea -- because I can imagine the massive disruption to the recreational activities of Kiwis if SkyTV was knocked off the air through satellite damage.

Of course those of us with a sense of adventure who have a little time and money to spare, might want to race down to the bottom of the South Island in anticipation of a possibly stunning display from the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights).

But for myself, well I won't be wearing a tinfoil hat and I'll just carry on as usual. If needs be, I'll keep typing with crossed fingers (polease exques the spulking maskates).

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