2012 happens to coincide with a new active period of the sun called solar max. These events can be powerful enough to knock out satellites and power stations. Research by the U.S. Government has found that if a major solar flare event equal in intensity to the one that occurred in 1859 called the Carrington Event happened today it would destroy the country’s electrical infrastructure. Worse still is the researchers noted it could take years to rebuild this infrastructure and get power flowing again! As I noted in my book Mayan Calendar Prophecies: Predictions for 2012-2052 there is evidence in the past 10,000 years of a super solar flare that was intense enough to set forests ablaze and boil the oceans for a period of 10 seconds. Could the Sun be entering another such active phase and is this why the Maya referred to the end of age as the end of a Sun? Learn more about the upcoming solar max below:
Wed Dec 29, 2010 02:33 PM ET, Content provided by AFP
The coming year will be an important one for space weather as the sun pulls out of a trough of low activity and heads into a long-awaited and possibly destructive period of turbulence.
Many people may be surprised to learn that the sun, rather than burn with faultless consistency, goes through moments of calm and tempest.
But two centuries of observing sunspots — dark, relatively cool marks on the solar face linked to mighty magnetic forces — have revealed that our star follows a roughly 11-year cycle of behavior.
The latest cycle began in 1996 and for reasons which are unclear has taken longer than expected to end.
Now, though, there are more and more signs that the sun is shaking off its torpor and building towards “Solar Max,” or the cycle’s climax, say experts.
“The latest prediction looks at around midway 2013 as being the maximum phase of the solar cycle,” said Joe Kunches of NASA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.
But there is a prolonged period of high activity, “more like a season, lasting about two and a half years,” either side of the peak, he cautioned.
At its angriest, the sun can vomit forth tides of electromagnetic radiation and charged matter known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs.
This shock wave may take several days to reach Earth. When it arrives, it compresses the planet’s protective magnetic field, releasing energy visible in high latitudes as shimmering auroras — the famous Northern Lights and Southern Lights.
But CMEs are not just pretty events.
They can unleash static discharges and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt or even knock out the electronics on which our urbanized, internet-obsessed, data-saturated society depends.
[The story continues here: http://news.discovery.com/space/solar-max-sun-electromagnetic.html ]