Space weather WARNING: 'It's a matter of time' before solar flare CRIPPLES Earth

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Major solar flares triggered by a solar maximum in space will wreak havoc on Earth and it is only a “matter of time”. Dr. Kaku, a theoretical physicist and book author at the City College of New York, has warned modern technology is defenseless against such reckless power. Solar flares are highly-charged streams of gaseous energy particles violently ejected from the Sun out into the solar system. When solar flares strike the atmosphere, they create beautiful displays of light near the North and South Poles, known as aurora.

 Space Weather: Solar flare ejected from the Sun





Space weather: Dr. Michio Kaku warned a major solar flare will cripple Earth's technologies (Image: GETTY)

But solar flares also have the power to wipe out communications satellites, disable electronic devices and cause aeroplanes to malfunction.

At their worst, solar flares can blow out power stations, disable GPS navigation and ground emergency services.

Speaking live on Coast to Coast AM Radio, Dr. Kaku said solar flares on this scale are rare – they only strike once every 100 to 200 years.

But the last known solar flare this powerful struck 150 years ago, suggesting the planet could be due another solar attack soon.





 Space weather: Solar flare ejected from the Sun

Space weather: A major flare will "fry satellites" and wipe out power grids (Image: GETTY)

Dr. Kaku said: “These are rare events, maybe once in 100 years or once in 200 years, but is it is inevitable.”

And once the solar flare does strike, the effects will be much more devastating than the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In 1859, a major solar flare struck the planet, lighting up the night skies from the North Pole all the way down to Cuba.

The flare was caused by a so-called Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the surface of the Sun and has caused one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record.

Dr. Kaku said: “It’s a matter of time, you know, we’ve had a big one 150 years ago in 1859. We’ve had a huge solar flare that hit the Earth.

“One of these days one of these solar flares is going to hit the Earth.” Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical physicist.

“Back then they only had telegraph poles but even they got shorted out and you could read the newspaper in Cuba at night by the light of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, as far south as Cuba.

“From that, we physicists can recalculate how big that solar flare of 1859 must have been.

“If we were hit by another one like that, it would fry our satellites, communications would go down instantly, power plants would be shorted out, and in the worst case – remember this a worst case scenario – we physicists believe that it could be 20-times worse than Hurricane Katrina.

“So image 20 Hurricane Katrinas ravaging the Earth simultaneously and you can begin to estimate the kind of damage if there is a direct hit from one of these solar flares.

“And we’re headed toward the maximum, so more flares are going off the Sun – we had a big one last month.”

The solar maximum is a period of the tumultuous solar activity during an 11-year-long cycle.

During a solar maximum, the highest number of sunspots appears and the amount of energy radiating from the star has been known to change the weather on Earth.

 Space weather: Solar flare ejected from the Sun

Space weather: Earth compared to a solar flare from the Sun (Image: GETTY)

 Space weather: Solar flare ejected from the Sun

Space weather: The last major solar flare hit 150 years ago (Image: GETTY)

According to Dr. Kaku, the solar maximum is the most likely window of opportunity for a major solar flare to hit the Earth.

He said: “So far we’ve dodged the bullet, so far we’ve been able to miss these sale flares, but these solar flares are like bullets and sunspots are like rifles.

“Think of rifles shooting bullets into outer space and missing Earth.

“Of course outer space is quite big but one of these days one of these solar flares is going to hit the Earth like what happened in 1858 and all hell can break loose.”

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