From the intro to “Armageddon”, a 1998 science fiction disaster film:

“At a time when the dinosaurs roamed a lush and fertile planet, a piece of rock just six miles wide changed all that.

It hit with the force of 10.000 nuclear weapons.

A trillion tons of dirt and rock hurled into the atmosphere creating a suffocating blanket of dust.

The sun was powerless to penetrate for a thousand years.

It happened before.

It will happen again.

It’s just a question of when”

The film follows a group of blue-collar deep-sea oil drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

In case you’re not worried enough, it doesn’t need to be a “rock”.

Coronal Mass Ejections from the Sun occur as often as 5 times a day. They fly off in all directions.

One, called the “Carrington Event”, hit the Earth in 1851 and fried the Telegraph Grid then in place.(Railroad tracks, too.)

Another just missed Earth in 2012.

There’s a 20% chance of one hitting the Earth within the next 40 years.

Our Power Grid is vulnerable to a CME. Steps to protect it have not been implemented.

Why not?

Comments | 8

  • Solar Storms

    Tomaidh’s over-the-top style and history of posting irresponsible conspiracy scenarios underscore the need for fact checking a story which is based entirely on assertions.

    Dire warnings by Tomaidh (who brought us the news that Sandy Hook was a government fabrication which never actually happened) require reality checks, as do all undocumented assertions.

    In his “Armageddon” story (published under “Rumors”) Tomaidh claims that the 1859 Solar storm “fried” telegraph lines and and railway tracks, and asserts that if it were to happen in today’s technological world, it would be comparable to the astroid hit which wiped out dinosaurs 60 million years ago.

    And speaking of life-destroying astroid hits, he makes the false assertion that, “Another just missed Earth in 2012” and the undocumented statement that: “There’s a 20% chance of one hitting the Earth within the next 40 years.”

    Regarding Tomaidh’s assertion of the 2012 supposed near miss:
    “NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office can accurately predict the path of the small near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14. There is no chance that the asteroid might be on a collision course with Earth.”

    But why let fact checking ruin an exciting story?

    So in considering the danger of solar storms, I had to wonder whether this is a case of Tomaidh reporting a stubbed toe, as a major accident that the government had covered up; or if there is something to it.

    I googled: “Carrington Event,” and found that, in fact, there is something to Tomaidh’s warning, but that… surprise… Tomaidh had somewhat overstated the magnitude of the danger: It is serious, very serious, but not apocalyptic.

    Tomaidh is correct that the United States congress has voted against hardening our electrical grid to prevent disruptions, but even serous disruptions would hardly be “Armageddon.”

    Among other articles, such as Wikipedia and National Geographic, I found a site with an article titled: “Soar Storms… in a nutshell” by Robert Bast, which analyzes the danger:

    Neither that article, nor any other source that I found confirms Tomaidh’s colorful assertion that the 1859 solar flare “fried” telegraph lines and railway tracks. To say that a piece of machinery was “fried,” means that it was burned to a crisp, destroyed.

    Accounts of the Carrington Event describe serious disruptions, but not quite of the magnitude reported by citizen journalist Tomaidh.

    [Richard Carrington and Richard Hogson were English amateur astronomers who independently made the first observations of a solar flare].

    Wikipedia reports:
    “Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks.[17] Telegraph pylons threw sparks.[18] Some telegraph operators could continue to send and receive messages despite having disconnected their power supplies.[19]”

    But once the event was over, the telegraph system, not having been “fried,” continued to be operational. And, there is not one word about railway tracks burning to a crisp.

    Asking the question: “What Are The Odds?” the “Solar Storms… in a nutshell” article says the following:

    “Scientists guesstimate that a solar storm with the magnitude of the Carrington Event will only happen once every 500 years (based on nitrates found in ice cores representing the last 450 years).

    “Storms with half its intensity should hit every 50 years or so.

    “The last one occurred on November 13, 1960, and led to global geomagnetic disturbances and radio outages.”

    In other words, the odds of another solar storm of the magnitude of the 1859 Carrington Event are even less than the likelihood of Tomaidh actually posting a carefully researched story.

    • Space Weather

      One of my favorite weather links on our weather page here is the Space Weather forecast. They give daily outlooks for coronal mass ejections and sunspot activity. There are days when there is a high likelihood of getting hit by a strong geomagnetic solar wind.

      If you go to the page (which is filled with great info), look down on the lower left for the charts that show the chances of a flare. They divide them into Class M and Class X, and they are updated often (and the numbers change as the sun’s activity changes). Class X is the more dangerous one.

      They also give chances of geomagnetic disturbances in our magnetic field. While we might not be “fried”, telecommunications and satellite companies and such take this very seriously. (As I type this, there is a 30% chance of a severe disturbance in high latitudes in the next 24-48 hours)

      Tons of great info. And if you check the site regularly, you’ll have a slight (day or two) warning of a solar event that might interrupt your life.

    • Defense

      Thank you for your enlightening attempt to correct the errors in my post.

      For the record, I wasn’t talking about asteroids striking the Earth. (That was in the referenced movie)
      I was describing Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Something very different.

      Nasa says that…”Coronal mass ejections are huge bubbles of gas threaded with magnetic field lines that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours. (They) disrupt the flow of the solar wind and produce disturbances that strike the Earth with sometimes catastrophic results.” (Repeat: sometimes catastrophic results)

      So, what does “catastrophic’ mean?”
      A CME of sufficient magnitude striking the earth is perfectly capable of shutting down our grid. We don’t have the parts in hand to rebuild it. For instance, the giant transformers that are so vulnerable are only made by 2 European manufacturers (Siemens and ABB) and 1 Chinese source. Current lead times run 1 ½ to 2 years. None are made in America.
      Our local electricity would be non-existent for an unpredictable amount of time: no water, no gasoline, no food, no cable, no air-conditioning. The list goes on!

      From communication to transportation, we all are vitally dependent upon electricity for our everyday needs. This fast-paced modern world would not function without it. Yet, we are woefully unprepared to deal with the consequences should we find the electricity shut off. European and Asian grids have been “hardened”. North American grids have not. That’s a fact.

      You also accused me of another error: “And speaking of life-destroying astroid hits, he makes the false assertion that, “Another just missed Earth in 2012” If you were paying attention, you’d know I was speaking of CMEs, not asteroids.
      On 23 July 2012, a massive, and potentially damaging, solar superstorm (solar flare, CME, solar EMP) barely missed Earth, according to NASA. See: Morring, Jr., Frank (14 January 2013). “Major Solar Event Could Devastate Power Grid”. Aviation Week & Space Technology. pp. 49–50. The most serious potential for damage rests with the transformers that maintain the proper voltage for efficient transmission of electricity through the grid.

      BTW, there’s an “E” in asteroid. Betcha can’t find it.

      Speaking of fact checking, you have accused me of denying the official story of Sandy Hook. I have never done so. I even stated on iBrattleboro that I do now and always have believed the official story. I mentioned that there are anomalies that haven’t been addressed, and that OTHERS have denied it, but I never have denied it myself. But why let fact checking ruin an exciting story.

      You also criticize my use of the word “fried”.
      -To say that a piece of machinery was “fried,” means that it was burned to a crisp, destroyed.-
      Picky! Picky!
      I used “fried” as a metaphor. Are your brains “fried” from smoking too much pot?

      You ought to find a better use for your time.

  • "Are your brains “fried” from smoking too much pot?"

    I am not high on pot… I am low on pot. Why don’t your share some of yours?

  • Moderator says

    Ahem. I shouldn’t have to say this after 15 years, but please refrain from the personal insults about weed…. stick to the topic…

    • My bad. A Typo. I should have used a colon instead of a period after the word "metaphor.

      I used “fried” as a metaphor. Are your brains “fried” from smoking too much pot?
      Should read “I used “fried” as a metaphor: are your brains “fried” from smoking too much pot?”

      It wasn’t intended as an insult, but “Twain” took it as such.

  • The Trump Defense?

    “The sentence should have been…’I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia’.”

    Anyway, Tomaidh: Don’t Bogart that joint!

  • A more recent example

    Solar storms set off mines during Vietnam.

    “As part of Operation Pocket Money, the U.S. Navy planted a series of Destructor sea mines near strategic ports off the coast of North Vietnam. A few weeks later, on August 4, 1972, crew members aboard U.S. Task Force 77 aircraft suddenly observed a batch of explosions south of Hai Phong. In all, some 20 to 30 explosions were documented in just 30 seconds. Another 25 to 30 patches of muddy water were also observed, indicative of further explosions.”


    “As part of its investigation, the U.S. military sent officials to the Space Environment Laboratory at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) near Boulder, Colorado. After consulting with scientists, the investigators concluded with a “high degree of probability” that solar storm activity was responsible for the seemingly spontaneous destruction of the magnetic mines.”

    Recently declassified documents….

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