Killer solar flares are physically impossible, says NASA

Illustration for article titled Killer solar flares are physically impossible, says NASA

Although we are ramping up to a high in solar activity, there's no reason to look at the sun with fear and horror. NASA has announced that a killer solar flare is a physical impossibility.


The eleven year cycle of high solar activity could do a little damage, like altering the upper atmosphere through solar flares to throw GPS off by a few hundred yards. The outer corona of the sun could even spew particles far into space. These particles could come with electromagnetic fields strong enough to blow a power grid or two, by taking out a transformer. But the sun, they say, despite being powerful enough to be the basis for most of the life on earth for billions of years, does not have enough energy to send out a fireball that will consume the earth. That kind of activity would take a massive restructuring of the material in the sun, and probably something with more of a kick than hydrogen being fused in its center.

So find another way to roast your marshmallows, apocalypse lovers.


Top Image: NASA/SOHO

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Anekanta - spoon denier

I was never worried about a solar flare that would consume the earth in fire. I was, and still am, however, concerned that a big solar flare might knock out most or all of the Earth's power grids (not just one or two). That would still be a major disaster, at least in the developed world.

Is that a reasonable concern, given NASA's statement?