In a previous article on this blog, the following was reported about expectations for solar flares by the year 2012.

Solar Cycles
March 6, 2006
“The NCAR team predicts the next cycle will be 30-50% more intense than the current cycle.”
“Cycle 24 is likely to reach its peak about 2012.”….Read more
March 10, 2006
“This week researchers announced that a storm is coming–the most intense solar maximum in fifty years.”
Dikpati’s forecast puts Solar Max at 2012″….Read more

2012 could be interesting.

From a May 6, 2008 NASA article:
“A Super Solar Flare”
“May 6, 2008: At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington—widely acknowledged to be one of England’s foremost solar astronomers—was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw.
On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped. Realizing that he was witnessing something unprecedented and “being somewhat flurried by the surprise,” Carrington later wrote, “I hastily ran to call someone to witness the exhibition with me. On returning within 60 seconds, I was mortified to find that it was already much changed and enfeebled.” He and his witness watched the white spots contract to mere pinpoints and disappear.”
“Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.”

solarflare061205

“Above: A modern solar flare recorded Dec. 5, 2006, by the X-ray Imager onboard NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite. The flare was so intense, it actually damaged the instrument that took the picture. Researchers believe Carrington’s flare was much more energetic than this one.

The explosion produced not only a surge of visible light but also a mammoth cloud of charged particles and detached magnetic loops—a “CME”—and hurled that cloud directly toward Earth. The next morning when the CME arrived, it crashed into Earth’s magnetic field, causing the global bubble of magnetism that surrounds our planet to shake and quiver. Researchers call this a “geomagnetic storm.” Rapidly moving fields induced enormous electric currents that surged through telegraph lines and disrupted communications.”

Read more:

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/06may_carringtonflare.htm

This article can also be read with comments at this excellent site of meteorological facts here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/05/07/a-reminder-to-us-flyspecks-on-an-elephants-butt/

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