Oh, yes, Old Sol makes plants grow so we and the animals will have food. The sun affects ocean and air currents, too. And if you’ve got photovoltaic cells, you get free energy from the sun.
But a major solar storm could knock out the power grid and bring life as we know it to a crashing halt.
How worried should we be about the sun? What can we do to prepare for serious consequences?
What if you could know about solar weather just like you know about your local weather forecast? Wouldn’t you like to know ahead of time if you should unplug your electronics devices or protect them in Faraday cages?
And what if the sun could adversely affect your health? I’m not just talking about sunburn or skin cancer either.
George Plymale and his wife Brooksi of FlareAware were my guests on DestinySurvival Radio yesterday to talk about the above questions and more. They’re passionate about making you and me aware of what the sun is doing or could do.
They offer a way to know about solar weather with various alerts you can receive as text or voice messages by phone. It’s like the up to the minute severe storm weather alerts you can get from local radio and TV stations, only these are alerts about what the sun is doing.
Chances are you’ve seen ads for FlareAware on this site. You may have read my previous post about FlareAware.
But our interview on DestinySurvival Radio wasn’t just an infomercial for the FlareAware service. It was educational, and I learned some new things.
Solar Flares vs. CME’s
Unlike flares, CME’s have mass because they’re plasma. Flares travel at the speed of light and arrive in minutes, while CME’s take several hours or even days to arrive.
Solar flares sometimes cause radio blackouts. Cell phone service can be affected, too. Flares have the potential to knock out satellites as well. And you should be careful about travelling by plane when radiation levels are high, especially if you’re pregnant.
Flares are divided into classes, such as C, M, and X, which indicates their strength and intensity. One good thing about flares is that they may predict CME’s. It’s thought that stronger flares may indicate more powerful coronal mass ejections. However, scientists are still studying this predictive relationship.
Solar flares aren’t altogether harmless. But they’re less of a problem than a coronal mass ejection. If a CME hits the earth and fries giant power transformers, we’re in big trouble.
CME’s are responsible for the colorful Northern and Southern lights in the night sky. They cause geomagnetic storms in the atmosphere. If there’s too much energy, they can overload electric wires and large transformers.
It’s also possible there’s a relationship between CME’s and earthquakes. But scientists are still debating that.
Another area of interest that needs more study is the sun’s affect on heart health. Studies have shown that, shortly before a CME, fluctuations in the earth’s geomagnetic field cause a noticeable rise in heart attacks and strokes. And even deaths can be the result.
This is such a serious issue that George e-mailed me after our interview to share a point which Brooksi didn’t have time to work in during the show.
Those with heart problems or tendency towards strokes should most definitely subscribe to the FlareAware Premium plan. That’s the plan which offers the most comprehensive alerts about the sun’s activity.
The other FlareAware plan is the Plus Plan. It’s a good choice if you want fewer but necessary alerts.
Likewise, we ought to know when little or nothing is expected to happen. You want the weather forecaster to tell you when it might sprinkle instead of storming.
Shouldn’t we have the same expectations concerning solar weather? I think it would be great if forecasts about the sun’s activity were given along with the regular weather forecasts we get on radio and TV.
I’ve written more today than I usually do about DestinySurvival Radio interviews because this is an important subject which needs clarification. I encourage you to hear my discussion with George and Brooksi Plymale on DestinySurvival Radio for May 24, 2012. Find out more about FlareAware directly and subscribe to their alert service by clicking on the ad banner below.
By the way, George and Brooksi are eager to have your feedback. They want to make their service user friendly for all of us. Take advantage of the discount being offered now and give FlareAware a try. Then let them know how it’s working out for you.
How concerned are you about solar flares and CME’s? Leave a comment and let others know what’s on your mind.
For more on solar events, view Sun Struck in “National Geographic” for June 2012.