(OPINION) A bit of an anomaly caught the eyes of NASA solar science specialists yesterday. Upon closer review, it would seem that we are all quite lucky to still live in a world powered by electricity.

It all started with the GOES Proton Flux showing a surprising increase over the past day that continues to reverberate at much higher levels than anticipated.

In solar physics, a solar particle event (SPE), also known as a solar energetic particle (SEP) event or solar radiation storm, occurs when protons emitted by the Sun, mostly become accelerated either in the Sun’s atmosphere during a solar flare, or in interplanetary space because of a coronal mass ejection (which is what happened two days ago).


According to 610 Kona, Energetic protons are a significant radiation hazard to anything in space, including satellites. This disturbance is continuing though today, and this despite the fact that the solar flare/coronal mass ejection occurred on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth.

Had this coronal mass ejection been facing Earth, instead of the opposite direction, we would be experiencing a Carrington-level event. The Carrington Event is the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history, peaking from 1 to 2 September 1859 during solar cycle 10.

It created strong auroral displays that were reported globally, even seen as far south as Cuba in the western hemisphere. The coronal mass ejection caused sparking and even fires in multiple telegraph stations.

The event was observed and recorded independently by British astronomers Richard Christopher Carrington and was the first records of a solar flare. If the coronal mass ejection had been aimed at us we would already be suffering powerful geomagnetic storms and possibly a grid-down scenario.


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