Two solar flares which erupted from the solar surface whizzed past Earth on January 28th, just barely missing Earth and safely leaving the Earth with no ill effects. The solar flares gave astronomers data that suggested they may be on the right track with thinking that the flare ups could be related.
The January 28 Eruption was separated by almost a million miles, but somehow was connected by tremendous forces at work on the surface of the sun. The two explosions happened around Earth with both being well out of range for our planet despite each being very bright and immense. Sunspot 1149, categorized as an M1 class solar flare was reported by solar activity and asteroid weather site Spaceweather as large, but not dangerous to us.
The theory that the sun’s activity -including solar flares- could be all connected is certainly not new. In fact, there has been a gradual increase across the entire solar surface which could be the result of a much larger cycle. The theory doesn’t necessarily suggest that the solar surface is connected all across. The fact that the sun is actually heating has led some scientists, such as Habibullo Abdussamatov, believing Earth may be increasing in temperature due to activity on the sun’s surface according to an article by National Geographic. Abdussamatov heads space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia. Of course this is highly contested information due to the debate over global warming. The article also stated another opinion, that of Colin Wilson of Oxford University who said Abdussamatov’s opinion was in the minority of mainstream science.
In 2010 the ILWS (International Living With a Star) meeting convened comprising 25 of the most technologically advanced nations. The subject? Everyone’s favorite shining star. The group discussed developing a system that could track the weather from space and hopefully make predictions that have far reaching effects on Earth such as the solar storm of 1859 which -had it happened today- would no doubt cripple the electrical grid and knock out satellites around the globe. Combine that with the coming warning from NASA that around 2012 or 2013 another one might be in the works and you have the perfect solar storm.
With massive solar flares such as this going up, and seemingly connected people will have more reason than ever to keep watching the skies. But other than making homemade faraday cages to keep out stray solar rays, people will likely be taking a more careful look at the process of solar activity once it starts affecting them at home. Or when scientists suggest it could cause massive changes on Earth shortly.
Meanwhile, it seems like things are in the clear at least for now. But with no way of telling what future weather might be like from the sun, the world will be waiting cautiously for the next few years as a warning of a massive cosmic catastrophe draws dangerously near. But until then we will only have to wait and see what mood the sun will be in.