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The REAL 2012?

I was joking about my EMP and Solar Flare proof  calculator back in my August 26, 2010 post. However,  our sun is causing real concern about our electrical infrastructure when it is due to peak its 11 year magnetic cycle in 2013.    In 1859, a solar flare pushed an enormous cloud of magnetically charged particles called a “Coronal Mass Ejection” (CME), directly at the earth.   Most CMEs from flares take 3-4 days to reach the earth.  This one took just 17 hours!  Fast!  One of the first things Physics students learn about electrical power generation is that the faster the conductor moves through the magnetic field the higher the electro-motive force (voltage) produced.  The 1859 interaction with our magnetosphere produce aurora that could be seen in the Caribbean.   In the Rocky Mountains it woke up gold miners.  An electomagnetic pulse (EMP) was generated that took out our national telegraph system, causing sparks to fly off the pylons, telegraph paper to catch fire. and electrocuted more than a few operators!  That system was robust,  compared to our present day dependence on low-voltage microprocessors and POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) twisted-pair, copper wire, networking for all types of control, including electrical, gas, oil and water SCADA.

Here is a 5 minute BBC cideo on the current day threat.

Categories: IT Security, Science, Space
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