Video: Solar Flare Set to Hit Earth Thursday

Solar FlareThe Earth is in the direct path of a major solar flare that is set to hit the planet Thursday and could put military satellites in danger.

The X-class solar flare, exploded off the sun on Tuesday. It is scheduled to hit the Earth Thursday. NASA has already delayed one launch in order to prevent damage from the increased amount of radiation.

In 2012, U.S. military satellites were damaged by a March solar flare, Gen. William Shelton, head of U.S. Air Force Space Command, confirmed. He said military satellites are hardened to sustain certain amounts of radiation, but not all parts are protected as much as he’d like.

In many cases, NASA and Air Force operators will shut down satellites just ahead of when a solar flare is about to hit in order to protect sensitive parts.

“They can go into a ‘safe mode.’ Once the storm dies down, they can turn it back on,” Shelton said back in 2012.

Solar flares are not only damaging to satellites, they can also wreak havoc on electric grids across the globe. One NASA official said a large enough solar flare could knock out electric grids across the U.S. and leave the country without power for months at a time.

While the solar flare could have the potential to be extremely destructive, it will put on quite a light show as the Northern Lights will expand as far south as Colorado.

Below is a video released by NASA of the flare exploding off the sun.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • hibeam

    Some day the Big Kahuna will hit and it will be a different world. We are doing nothing to prepare for it. Keep your powder dry.

    • DougieR
      • blight_

        Own a farm. Protect it well. And anticipate going back to hand tools and draft animals like it’s 1850.

        • oblatt2

          The new American peasantry.

          • blight_

            Landowners do better than non-landowners. Non-landowners are slaves.

    • https://www.facebook.com/Chuckiechanc Chuckiechan Chan

      I have my house covered in tinfoil.

  • Jill Hasselbach Villalba
  • Hunter76

    Jill,

    Living in the US is a big plus. It’s no secret to the leading competitive nations that some countries (inc US, Russia, Canada, Aus) have natural long-term advantages over others.

  • Stormcharger

    We’ve only been gathering hard data on the sun for a few decades, it’s entirely possible that it has released flares like this in the last 10,000 years or so of all recorded history. By all means, keep your towel handy, but there’s no reason to panic, or more precisely panic others.

  • MBH

    This wasn’t a “flare” hitting the earth, it was a Coronal Mass Ejection caused by a flare. And it hit Thursday afternoon around 3 PM EST, with pretty much no effect.

  • Dfens

    Have you ever looked at the sun through a telescope equipped with a commercial hydrogen alpha filter? Very cool. Much better than your typical neutral density filter because it gives a lot of detail. You can see the surface boiling and see flares as they erupt. They’ve come down a lot in price over the years but I still can’t afford one. My one chance to look through one it was on a 20″ Schmidt-Cassegrain research telescope. It’s too bad solar flares aren’t the only threat to satellites these days.

  • curt

    I guess we’ll have to look somewhere else for what really happened from a scientific point of view…

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