May 9th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

'Monster sunspot' spitting out flares

After a very eventful March, April was fairly quiet in terms of solar activity. But with the arrival of a new sunspot region on the Earth side of the sun, solar activity could begin to heat up once again in May.

Researchers at NASA’s Solar Dynamics Laboratory called this new region a “monster sunspot.” This region, labeled AR 1476, is gigantic in terms of sunspot regions: It measures about 60,000 miles across.

Sunspots are temporary phenomena on the sun that appear darker than surrounding regions and are caused by intense magnetic activity. Most solar flares and coronal mass ejections originate in sunspot regions.

Large solar flares are usually associated with coronal mass ejections, which are huge masses of solar particles that are hurled into space by the sun at about 3 million miles per hour.

Coronal mass ejections can cause solar radiation storms that disrupt radio signals, satellite transmissions and expose astronauts and passengers of high-altitude aircraft to increased amounts of radiation. They create geomagnetic storms that can cause power blackouts and extensive damage to power grids. Geomagnetic storms also illuminate the Earth’s magnetic field, causing brilliant auroras.

The sunspot region is already very active, sparking several C-class solar flares over the past few days.

Scientists classify solar flares using three categories: C, M and X, with C-class solar flares being the weakest and X class solar flares being the strongest. NOAA is forecasting a 65% chance of M-class solar flares and a 10% chance of X-class solar flares over the next 24 to 48 hours.

The chance for solar flares and Earth-directed coronal mass ejections will be at elevated levels as long as the large sunspot region is on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Since the sun takes 26 days to make one full revolution at the equator, the monster sunspot region will continue to be a threat to Earth for at least the next 13 days.

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Severe Weather • the Sun
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. apronheadlilly

    I knew I shouldn't have given up the landline. :-)

    May 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  2. in it not of it.

    Amen. The Lords coming soon to show himself to the WORLD.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  3. in it not of it.

    I will pray for you. I hope you can find Jesus Christ before everything hits.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  4. eroteme

    Oh yeah?

    May 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  5. Wondering999

    Don't be afraid. The Avengers will save us,

    May 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  6. Jose Antonio

    This could be just a beginning of the end. Our universe is over 84 billion yrs old already. Science says before a light goes out like our sun it gives out these flares, small at first, then more flares, big ones, small ones. Then, a lot of erratic flares. This is when the sun starts to expands its size....So, is the sun getting bigger?

    May 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • AF

      84 Billion? Whoever taught your astronomy class should be fired.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • studdmuffins

      You're only off by a factor of 6 (70B years), at least insofar as estimates go, so keep guessing. But I wouldn't apply for that whole Guess Your Age gig at the local fair.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Nodack

      The end is near!

      The Sun shot out a solar flare so that means we are all going to die!

      May 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • eroteme

        Solar flares or no solar flares. It is a pretty safe bet that all of us who now live will die. Many of old age.

        May 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • TheBob

      This is about what I would expect from Mexican schools. Not exactly the hotbed of astrophysics.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  7. James

    If what happened in 1859 (Carrington Event) happened today, the world would be without power for for over a month. And according to the government EMP Commission report (http://www.empcommission.org), any power outage over a month equals the end of modern civilization, mostly due to the rioting, revolution, and chaos that would ensue as a result of starvation, disease, and violence. Scientists said the chance of a Carrington event in the next decade is 12%. That's a very conservative estimate, and is likely higher. Now think of the chance of such a thing happening within your lifetime, over several decades.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • njx

      Go back to your bunker, and don't come out. Do us all a favor.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
      • cccc

        njx,

        you really need to wake up. Fact is, he is right. If that type of event happened today, we are doomed. Our electrical system in no where near th standard of protection (read congress reports stating this), are communications are mostly based in space, they would be gone. you really have no clue.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • michaeldw

      I wish this would happen.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • strider64

      I not saying there wouldn't be chaos, but I think the human race could survive a blackout for a month, people survived before there was electricity. Heck, twinkies are known to stay edible for over a year, so I think we'll be just fine if that event does happen. LOL

      May 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • lol

      Talking to the sheeple is a waste. LOL! There is no cure for stupid and they wouldn't understand if you spoke baby talk to them. The warnings of the consequences of these storms was straight from NASA to congress but to here this fella tell it, well like I said ... you can't cure stupid.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:56 am |
  8. augustghost

    Shut up and take your meds

    May 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  9. OOOLA

    I think these solar flares bathe us in X rays.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  10. Mike

    While I can't stand spam normally... I absolutely got a kick out of that. LOL

    May 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  11. Pippa

    Skipping the meds again?

    May 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  12. thepoolmaster

    and this my friends is what will be killing us all dead come December of this year. Hope you brought your sunscreen, cause it's gonna be a hot one.

    May 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Gene Bartz

      The Solar Flux Index is currently 127. The A-index just jumped from 9 to 22, and the K-index went from 3 to 4. This sunspot region isn't affecting earth very much at the present time.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • TinKnight

      Right...because a solar flare or CME that's initiated in the next day or two will take 7 months to get here, and then obliterate us...wrong!

      CME's, as quoted in the article, travel at 3 million miles an hour, and arrive here pretty darned quickly...and the planet's atmosphere does a pretty good job of shielding us from the direct effects, so that there's only problems with electrical equipment, which don't even last that long. It does not, as portrayed in SciFi, fry us all where we stand.

      May 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  13. JE

    oh my

    Luke 17

    24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  14. Dupper

    Threat means you can get radio problems or magnetic problems or northern light problems or total destruction with massive globs of super hot gasses and rocks melting of the earth problem

    May 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Rich

      Lets not forget about igniting the earths atmosphere. Oxygen is flamable.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • RJ

        Our atmosphere is only 20% Oxygen. 78% of it is non-flammable Nitrogen. ;)

        I think we're good.

        May 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • GoRemote

        Oxygen is NOT flammable.........

        May 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • Rich

        Pure oxygen is not flamable, but then almost nothing is. Acetylene, hydrogen, gasoline, and methane cannot burn on their own. They all require a catalyst for that to happen.

        May 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • Whit

        Oxygen is a conducter it is not flammable..

        May 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • Matt

        You can get pure nitromethane to partially combust, given enough pressure and an ignition source. But that's only because it's bringing its own oxygen atoms to the party. And atomic oxygen burns like nothing else.

        And technically speaking, Rich, fires do not need catalysts. Most fires we're familiar with do not involve catalysis. They only have something being oxidized (like wood or gas) and an oxidant (on earth, that's usually oxygen.) A catalyst would be something that sped up the reaction without being consumed by it.

        May 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • Jarvick

        really? then we would have been blown up a long time ago when someone lit a cig.

        May 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  15. soicanleavecommentsonblogs

    When you use your smart phone to find out which candidate you want to vote for you become angry and your head releases heat.

    When you become angry over having to try to decide which candidate is the lesser moron, your head releases heat and heats up the atmosphere.

    When you heat up the atmosphere some energy is transferred to the sun causing a protracted coronal mass ejection which would render your cell phone useless.

    Don’t let a protracted coronal mass ejection render your cell phone useless.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Rich

      Cell phones already are useless. Don't blame the CMT.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Rich

      *CME

      May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • GoodOne

      This is a hilarious spoof of those cell commercials!!! Love the one with Charlie Sheen :) Welll done haha!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  16. LarryIT

    Quick, somebody burn some coal so we will have something to blame the resulting weather disruption on!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  17. 1publicservant

    ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY....

    May 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Kris Jackson

      Jeez, you suppose I'm the only one who got that?

      May 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  18. Dano

    SILLY RABBITS...SUNSPOTS are merely holes in the sun created by JOSH HAMILTON homeruns!!!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  19. FraidyCat

    I thought this was going to be a story about monsters. Boy was I releived. Just a huge ball of gas heading towards earth.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Chaseki

      Im with you. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and solar flares are least of my worries. What we really should be preparing for is a zombie apocalypse

      May 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • t3chsupport

        Incidentally, if you are prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you are also prepared for sunspots.

        May 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • cosmicsnoop

        So prepared. Sharpening machetes now.

        May 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  20. soicanleavecommentsonblogs

    No Satan created religion to ensure there could never be world peace...let alone neighborly love.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  21. Limelight

    Obama just approved Gay Marrage – just saying

    May 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • JW

      Well it is 2012 !!!!

      May 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  22. Informed99

    Quickly get your towels, the dolphins are leaving.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mopery

      I'm already drinking heavily and devouring salted peanuts.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Ally

        Must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays...

        May 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • reldra

        Always have your towel and your Guide. Especially with 12/12 coming!

        May 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • howitzer

      42

      May 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Flipper

      So long, and thanks for all the fish!

      May 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  23. newenki

    "Smoke and Mirrors". Tactics of deception to create despair for the masses. First, they use the media propaganda to spread around the story of a possible super coronal mass ejection. Next, they will cause the "event" by deliberately shutting down the powergrid or disabling some satellite communications. Finally, they'll attribute the cause to an earth bound X flare hit. The masses with interpret that as an act of the divinity.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Rich

      "They" sure are busy.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • MyTake

      "They" seem to have a lot of time on their hands

      May 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • cosmicsnoop

      "They" can't even run things on a daily basis and all seem pretty dumb. Unless they are totally brilliant by acting completely dumb.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  24. Chris Honry

    Oh yeah, and being a self-centered, selfish jerk makes you think YOU are your own GOD.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  25. nonPCrealist

    wait.. so what is the myth of god used for again?

    May 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  26. Robin Ruble

    And, by that, you mean ...?

    May 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  27. Love-Faith-God

    REALLY???? I will pray for you.

    It's the government that manipulates and controls.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  28. BobSanDiego

    Come on, man, spit it out!

    May 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  29. bobby frank-Dallas, Texas

    That ball of plasma headed to earth is pretty frightening. This actually happened back when we didn't depend on all the things we have now. This could disrupt our power grid and they don't just have these huge transformers laying around....they actually have to make them which takes several months. I would be willing to shut down everything until this passes by to avoid a calamity! This is serious s–t people and the jokes on you if we don't think fast.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • njx

      Here is what is going to happen: N-O-T-H-I-N-G. All the doomsday survivalist are in a tizzy, but N-O-T-H-I-N-G is going to happen.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Rich

        I'm sure the dinasaurs said the same thing just before the AAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        May 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  30. Spidey-Man

    ZOMBIES!!!

    May 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • michaeldw

      Zombies would be sick.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  31. RunForTheHills

    Hahah you beat me to it!

    May 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Jim D.

      Where's the damn LIKE button!!!

      May 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  32. Kent

    I am woking over seas and for the last few days cell phone reception and making calls especially to the states has been really bad. I just tried clling the states and got cut off about 5 times. Now I know why, thanks.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  33. stonesrule

    George Bush caused this....according to Obama

    May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • drod

      Obama caused this according to Faux-Noise.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  34. the real JZ

    The moral of this stupid scientific crap about sun spots...aka cancer spots....sounds like the sun is getting hotter and we need to wear more sunscreen...or just stay the hell inside amd hope we don't have a "black hole sun" like the soundgarden video with the melting faces

    May 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Romas

      Stupid? Your comment is what is stupid. Sun spots are not to be laughed at and are not your so-called cancer spots. The coronal ejections can disrupt a lot and cause a lot of damage (and potential loss of life). Maybe if you would have paid attention in any science class you took you would understand the implications better and not think this is some BS story (as you apparantly do).

      May 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • njx

        Nothing will happen. And I'm sure you won't be back to post about how wrong you were.

        May 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • RF Burns

      Maybe the government can fix your problem.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • n2video

      "or just stay the hell inside amd hope we don't have a "black hole sun"". Yet another uninformed and stupid remark. Our sun is one of the smaller known stars in the universe. It doesn't have the mass to form a super nova, which is requisite to form a black hole. PLEASE, JZ, go back to school, do some real research...learn something, if that's possible in your small mind.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Rich

      Actually the sun is cooling. The sun spots (solar flares) are caused by the reversal of the suns magnetic field. It happens on a regular basis (every eleven years like clockwork), and was totally expected by scientists and astronomers. The activity will increase until the magnetic field finishes it's transitional period sometime in 2013. You should always wear sunscreen when you go outside during summer months. Soundgarden rocks!

      May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  35. David

    The end is near. (I hope).

    May 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • eroteme

      The end may be the beginning.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
      • Jerry S

        Today is the last day of the first part of your life

        May 10, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  36. Christy P

    So what happens when our Nuclear reactors fail when the power grid is disabled? Our Nuclear plants have a back-up system intended for these emergencies but are only good for about three days. When the reactors are no longer being cooled, we have melt-down. If we had a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) early detection warning system, we could shut down the plants so the electrical systems are not fried during grid failure. Seems like a no-brainer to me when this is not some made-up Mayan prophecy, but real sun spots, real CMEs (think Aurora Borealis) causing potentially global electrical failure. Think about the after effects of Katrina but over the entire planet. It's not just that your cell phone won't work and TV and radio will be inoperative, water can't be treated, food and medicines can't be refrigerated. Hospitals have their own generators for the most part but these run on gas. If you can't get the pumps to work to pump the gas from the underground holding tanks, you're chapped. Just about everything has been converted from manual to electric. Good thing our front doors and windows are still manual or we'd all be locked out! In a worst case scenario like this it'll be like going back in time about 150 years.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Dan

      To answer your question Christy, the first thing we do is give into fear mongering.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • Love-Faith-God

        Hey folks, why is it that nothing seems to have an effect on us humans unless it affects us???

        May 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Brian

        Hey tool, it's not fear mongering to describe a possible worst case scenerio and to provide a very simply solution. I believe it's called being prepared. So quit talking just to hear yourself.

        May 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Love-Faith-God

      Thank you Christy for this well informed information. I hope everyone is taking this seriously.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • ScienceMan

      We just get more diesel fuel for the backup diesel generators. The plants can go with this emergency power supply as long as we keep the diesel tanks full. Needless to say, it is a national security priority to ensure the nukes will get their fuel.

      No big deal Christy.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • James

        The govt did a study on how EMP would affect us: http://www.empcommission.org/ - read the executive summary there. Good news is that only 10% of cars would become disabled. Bad news is they would clog up the roads and prevent food delivery for quite some time. They also said if the power stays out for more than a month, that would be the end of modern civilization.

        May 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  37. Joe

    Anyone know when one of those CMEs will strike the Earth like in The Knowing movie?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Randomguy

      CME's happen occasionally, no need to worry about them.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      December 21st of this year. ...

      May 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • mikeofla

      That was a Gamma Ray Burst.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  38. Badly-Bent

    What are those things that look like tank treads in the lower left corner?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Joe

      I believe those tank treads are actually glares in the camera. Someone needs to clean the lens on the hubble telescope.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • sam

      They are tank treads. We have troops on the sun.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Ryan

      Signs of a bad Photoshop work.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  39. DR. DOLITTLE

    THE ANIMALS HAVE STOPPED TALKING TO ME! DO YOU THINK THAT MEANS SOMETHING.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Burbank

      Run! Duck! Hide!

      May 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  40. The Main Man

    Republicans caused it. Vote them all out and no more sunspots. Simple.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  41. SoundGuy

    Here's an interesting rendition of the sound of the sun, kind of a meditation on the sun... http://youtu.be/LzqwzgJq6f0

    May 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  42. Chuck D

    The Rothschild family is using a natural sun cycle to sell their carbon trading market and man made climate change. Yes we need to stop polluting, but we also don't need a bogus carbon scam making the Rothschilds richer.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Sean Torres

      Chuck I am a big conspiracy theorist and hate the idea of a carbon tax and agenda 21 yadda yadda but cmon ya just can't pin everything on the rothschild's....

      there are 12 other families...in particular the li or dragon family has been intruiging to study...

      May 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  43. armageddon2012

    We are living in the year of 2012 and this is one sign that our world definitely will come to an end.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Buck

      @armageddon2012 – If you truly believed that, you wouldn't be wasting time spewing your nonsense in the comments section of a CNN article. I'd say that it will be nice once 2012 is overwith, but I instead realize that idiots like you will just claim another date as the end of the world.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • REPENTEE

      WE MUST REPENT TO THE JEEBUZZ

      May 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • Truefax

        Wich Jeebuzz? Zombie Jeebuzz, Shark Jeebuzz, SPECIFY DAMN IT.

        May 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • James

      Or simply a sign that you are very, very stupid.....

      May 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  44. dkaakd

    "solar activity could begin to heat up once again in May"

    Really bad pun space.com... Considering the potential for serious impact CMEs can do to our electrical grids, satellites and communications systems I would say a better choice of words might be in order.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  45. Thomas

    This sounds very much like the start of the movie "2012", maybe there is some truth to the end of times and the Mayan calender, time will tell !

    May 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Kauanny

      That is so cool ! WOW ! If you have time, please do more pitucres. The video's are wonderful ! It feels like you are sitting there when the wild life comes near. Just awesome ! Did the cable guy come see you yet ? I am never camping outside again !

      July 1, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  46. james

    meteorologists have problems predicting the wheather and you want to predict the types of solar flares from the Sun. lol

    May 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Duh

      Meteorologists != Astronomers

      May 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • hillman

      they know more than what u think

      May 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  47. Oscar Pitchfork

    Maybe a really long protracted coronal mass ejection will spray on the upper atmosphere long enoough to render the 2 to 6 gigahertz band totally useless. Then all the cell phones will stop working. Then, all the slack-jawed buffoons that are currently masquerading as citizens will look up from their hands and finally acknowledge their fellow human beings...

    May 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Rob

      Hahah, good call. My friends give me a hard time for not having a smartphone.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • dowdotica

      yup! i heard that!!!

      May 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • phxdude85

      Cell phones use 800, 1800, & 1900 Ghz.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  48. David R.

    Wrong, there are five classes of flares, in increasing orders of magnitude: A, B, C, M, and X. A two-minute visit to Wikipedia would help educate the article's author.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • ted

      STUDY POLITIC BY ANY CHANCE.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Bart Flaster

      Yeah, but he got a call on his cell phone.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • lynne

      I myself am not educated on this, and I am in no position to correct or challenge you.

      On the other hand, as a teacher, I feel compelled to say... wikipedia is not an adademic source nor is it a place you should go for true EDUCATION. Pet peeve of mine, sorry. Again, as I am ignorant of science I am not questioning you there.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • CaperwithaCamera

        in fairness though, there have been a lot of studies that show that wikipedia is often just as accurate as academic sources. It's usually just fandom pages where someone is fighting with one another (which ranges from shows to political people) that you need to be careful of. Articles like stuff about this are usually taken from academic sources, or atleast are referenced properly. But in the same vein, academic sources can be baised and factually incorrect as much as wikipedia too.

        Overall, as a teacher you should not discount any method of research, but instead encourage a broader range of sources for their research, from internet sources like wikipedia, to written articals, to first hand accounts. They're all valuable in their own way and their all needed to help figure out the bigger picture. And I don't mean that as criticism, I am dismayed by people that run to wikipedia as their only source as well.

        If I may offer a suggestion though, as to something you can teach your students that really isn't taught anywhere by journalism school? Have a project where they have to go right to a source for information. Have it so they need to visit or call a lab, or a political office, or an archaelogist, or even priest if the topic is theological to get their information. The reason is that even academic articles can take a few months to be published which means that even the latest ones are not up to date. While it can be difficult to speak with a source, it's not impossible and it would encourage your students to actually engage living people then sticking to the written material. Plus they would be able to ask questions that may not have answers in the texts. Just a thought.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • mikeBigD

        Yes, it is.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Paul

        It is certainly more accurate than anything you can get off of the media. Wikipedia also points you in the direction of citations. Again something the media ignores.

        May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Romas

        Contrary to some of the commentators, I agree with you. I am a technical professional and will never cite wikipedia as a reputable source of information. Even if most of the information on a topic is correct there is the chance that someone has edited a topic and put in false information. There are reputable verifiable sources of scientific information and most are not available for free to the general public. However having said that, the professionals that do have access also publish information on various topics. For sun spots there are numerous meteorologists that will publish extensive information with their weather forecasts in newspapers or other media. And the rule of thumb is at least 3 veifiable, reputable sources have said the same things, its usually true (and remember the word verifiable).

        May 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • Kiv

        Wikipedia is as reputable as any encyclopedia in existence today. The information is likely correct, however one should never cite an encyclopedia in academic writing. This happens to not be academic writing, so Wikipedia seems to be a valid source. I do agree that Wikipedia and other encyclopedias are great stepping stones for a researcher, and can help to give the bigger picture.

        May 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  49. Tax me back to Ol'Virginny

    Perhaps more money should be given to Homeland Security to investigate why this is happening now. We kill Al Kieda and next thing you know someone is shooting solar flares at us. Coincidence?? I think not!

    Maybe Baby J.C. became a Muslim and we just haven't found the papyrus yet.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  50. b

    i wonder what these flares do to smart meters, give false readings

    May 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • hillman

      fry the crap out of them there will b e no readings for years lol

      May 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  51. NASApwnsu

    I would rather spend my tax payer monies on sunspot research than a lot of other crap its being spent on, like as an example war mongering technologies. Spending the tax money on research into the sun is ment to save money. An epic CME would cause mass destruction to satillites, electrical grids and other such technologies. Imagine- no internet, no electricity and such. It would take months just to fix the most basic parts. It would take years, possibly never, to get back to where we are now. With the research NASA and other world space agencies are doing, we will be able to better predict CME's/sunflares and shut down grids before epic amounts of damage happen. We would still have to fix some things, but you would still have basic electrical technologies like being able to pump gas into vehicles and things like this that most people take for granted.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • NASApwnsu

      BTW, Human beings are safe from CME's, they have happened before. What the government is afraid of is mass rioting and violence due to basic electrical technologies disrupting things as simple as going to walmart and having safe water. Imagine hurricane Katrina like disasters on a global scale.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
      • Aardie

        I guess the Doomsday Planners weren't crazy after all. Will our cars' computers be fried?

        May 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • Amil

        Hi Tara!I'm definitely not cool, but tkhans!I was just thinking to myself-man, I should've done a live journal because everyone else is there! But this worked best linking into my actual website And tkhans for opening an account just for me! I'm so honored! I tried to have Death explain it-but yes, Nate died before the beginning. The whole beginning was to feel sort of dreamlike and unreal-which I'm sure was confusing. I tried keeping things sort of real-and then just piled it on afterwards-so at first it could've been real, then as it goes on-it just gets completely unreal-like with the trees, and bird creature, and such. I'm hoping as it goes on it gets less awkward. More will be explained soon!

        December 17, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  52. Ron

    Wonder just what "threat" means in this case?

    May 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  53. Dupper

    Got a light?

    May 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  54. EvolveNow

    A coronal mass ejection is a tiny representation of what will eventually happen when our Sun begins to loose mass and expand outward toward this little rock we call Earth!

    May 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • lynne

      been a while since I read on this, but that isn't projected to happen for MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of years from now, right? I seem to remember that anyway.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Mopery

        Try billions of years, it's a long way off.

        May 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  55. Canopy

    Geomagnetic storms eh? The never talk about the effect of these things on humans.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  56. EvolveNow

    Harden the satellites boys, its going to be a bumpy two weeks and a day! Anyone seen the lead-lined duct tape?

    May 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Aardie

      I'd better get started on the aluminum foil hats for my family.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  57. joe

    I guess this will be what destroys our electrical grids and with it modern society. Thanks a lot Mayans!

    May 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Canopy

      This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Sun is gearing up for something spectacular. For more information check out "Big Think" on Youtube. The Dr. talks in some episodes about these types of solar storms.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  58. Greenspam

    Today Republicans blame Obama and NASA for wasting taxpayers' money for following something like sun spot.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Science

      Any opportunity to spit on people who dont share your ideals, huh?

      May 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      Today the Chicken Little Society announced that 'global warming' caused sun spots...............

      May 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • lynne

      HAHA June did you just put something scientifically tested and vetted like GLOBAL WARMING in QUOTATION MARKS?

      You kill me.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • Jerry S

        The Globe is Warming, that is stipulated as fact. The source of that warming is unproven, and therefore still theory. So, the use of quotes would be appropriate for the colloquial use of the phrase in lieu of the more formal Theory of Global Warming or Global Warming Theory, whichever you prefer.

        May 10, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • MyTake

      I really don't know why I read these posts. I must like getting myself depressed about the state of the US electorate judging by the unnecessarily partisan, illogical and or uneducated posts that always accompany these articles no matter how straightforward and factual.
      *Sigh*
      This article has nothing to do with the following:
      – God (Religion)
      – Obama
      – Bush
      – Global Warming
      – Evolution

      May 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

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