The current solar cycle is weaker than usual, so you might expect a correspondingly low-key meeting. On the contrary, the halls and meeting rooms were abuzz with excitement about an intense solar storm that narrowly missed Earth.
"If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," says Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado, who presented a talk entitled The Major Solar Eruptive Event in July 2012: Defining Extreme Space Weather Scenarios.
A new ScienceCast video recounts the near-miss of a solar superstorm in July 2012. Play it
The Carrington Event of Sept. 1859 was a series of powerful CMEs that hit Earth head-on, sparking Northern Lights as far south as Tahiti. Intense geomagnetic storms caused global telegraph lines to spark, setting fire to some telegraph offices and disabling the 'Victorian Internet." A similar storm today could have a catastrophic effect on modern power grids and telecommunication networks. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers fried by such a storm could take years to repair and impact national security.
More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/02may_superstorm/
Source: NASA Science News.
2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium
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