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  1. What Damage Could Be Caused by a Massive Solar Storm?
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Of particular concern are disruptions to global positioning systems GPS , which have become ubiquitous in cell phones, airplanes, and automobiles, Baker said. In addition, Baker said, satellite communications—also essential to many daily activities—would be at risk from solar storms. But the big fear is what might happen to the electrical grid, since power surges caused by solar particles could blow out giant transformers.

Such transformers can take a long time to replace, especially if hundreds are destroyed at once, said Baker, who is a co-author of a National Research Council report on solar-storm risks. The U. Air Force Research Laboratory's Cliver agrees: "They don't have a lot of these on the shelf," he said.

What Damage Could Be Caused by a Massive Solar Storm?

The eastern half of the U. Even if the latest solar maximum doesn't bring a Carrington-level event, smaller storms have been known to affect power and communications. The "Halloween storms" of , for instance, interfered with satellite communications, produced a brief power outage in Sweden, and lighted up the skies with ghostly auroras as far south as Florida and Texas.

Another is better forecasting. Scientists using the new Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft are hoping to get a better understanding of how the sun behaves as it moves deeper into its next maximum and begins generating bigger storms. See some of SDO's first sun pictures. These studies may help scientists predict when and where solar flares might appear and whether a given storm is pointed at Earth. Even now, the center's Bogdan said, the most damaging emissions from big storms travel slowly enough to be detected by sun-watching satellites well before the particles strike Earth.

Is that a certainty? The Sun could be, ever so slightly, a variable star, could it not? The only way to absolutely rule that out would be to directly measure core activity. Once we have a few hundred years of continuous or near-continuous neutrino data then we can be sure.

On the gripping hand, most variable-star mechanisms e. The problem with explaining grand maxima without such variations is that the lack of a sharp upper cutoff on the durations of non-grand-maximum periods seems inconsistent with any mechanism involving blockage of energy transfer — the dam should be overtopped after long enough.

There are variable stars, but those are not due to variable core activity: the nuclear burning is stable in these stars. The variability invariably is due to the transport of the energy through the envelopes. Luckily, that effect in the Sun is so small to be effectively non-existent. The habitability of our Earth is quite dependent on the constancy of the Sun!

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Variable stars form sequences on the HR diagram. On that diagram, the Sun is well away from those sequences.

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The year solar cycle has to do with an exchange between toroidal and poloidal magnetic field. But very little energy is involved and the actual energy output of the Sun is barely affected: it varies by 0. Gunung Agung might be up to something. A few days ago there was a deep tectonic quake in the area north of the volcano where the magma storage is believed to be located.

Since then, the number of deep and shallow volcanic quakes has been increasing, indicating magma on the move inside the volcano. It reminds me a bit of the activity before the strombolian blast in the beginning of July. I think that now people are able to get to pohoiki more easily they are going exploring and going back up to the first vents. Fissure 8 is already well known to be getting a name but 17 and 22 are equally imposing and likely will too now. You have to wonder what would happen if a Carrington style event happened during a geomagnetic reversal.

Would some of the tech impact be potentially mitigated with a very weak magnetic field? Flares, yes, spots, not so much. Spots form as the magnetic field lines become so intense that plasma is pushed out of the tube and off to the side. This is something Livingston and Penn were looking at.

By measuring the Zeeman effect in the Fe spectral lines, you can get an estimate of the field intensity. Note: If Albert has anything to say in this matter, he is just as adept in that field as these guys possibly more so , so listen to him. Now, I am well outside my knowledge zone, so take this with a grain of salt or the whole salt-lick.

It is possible, that phenomena, whatever is is or whatever causes it, may be connected to abnormally low sunspot cycle counts. This has been though to have been an ultra long single period, or two diminished shorter periods jammed up against each other. Dominant thinking is towards the latter scenario.

Again, I emphasize, this is NOT my area of knowledge and for the most part, is just opinion by a non expert. A low fraction of zero is still zero — no change there. But looking at the paper, they predict almost no sun spots in cycle 25 which comes after That is a testable prediction.

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However, the author has recently provided a new prediction for cycle 25 which is above the weak cycle Other people have claimed cycle 25 will be exceptionally weak, albeit on very dubious trend projections. Finally, in the last months there have been a few sun spots which have polarity belonging to the next cycle, as if cycle 25 has started ahead if schedule.

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Everyone is waiting to see what will happen! But for helioseismologists their job is a lot tougher: like figuring out how a piano is made by listening to it fall down the stairs! This is something that I have thought about regarding the naming of kilauea. Mauna loa means long mountain, a sensible description. Mauna kea means white mountain, also very accurate. Kilauea means either far spreading or spewing. One of these is rather ambiguous, but spewing denotes a rather vigorous action. This could be interpreted as evidence kilaueas summit eruptions werent always slow effusion of lava lakes and tube fed flows, but sometimes much more powerful and sent fast lava flows over the landscape.

It is already well known and historically documented up to the modern day that eruptions within the deep calderas were extremely violent and included massive lava fountains and in many cases sizable tephra production or even just straight up explosive activity, but it is never assumed that this could actually happen when there is no true caldera. The very biggest eruptions would have happened regardless of whether there was a few hundred meters of extra rock above them.

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In this occurred, sending a channelised flow to the coastal plain within hours, the same thing happened in several times, in , , , , and twice in Particularly and were quite huge floods of lava even if they only flowed at that rate for a few weeks or less, who is to say similar things didnt happen when the summit overflows were going.

At higher rates aa flows start forming that are usually feeded by a perched channel at the higher part of the field. The width of the channel part of the perched channel flow maybe could be used as a way to infer the eruptive rates, the ones that reach maximum widths of more than m like Fissure 8 or the usual flows at Alayta would form at higher rates than most perched channels that have maximum widths of a few tens of meters.

But it would also need to be considered if the eruption was feeding more than one flow at the same time and if the channels were fast flowing or ponded. That is seen at fissure 8 where the flow rate would be constant along all the channel but the width was not, being much more wider at those areas where the lava ponded. It is still though a tube fed flow and the width of the tube itself is much more smaller than the usual perched flows so formed at lower rates than other shorter and narrower flows that were less long-lived.

The reason why explosive events are thought to happen within deep calderas is because you will not find major explosive events dated contemporary to the Observatory Shield.

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The stories of native hawaiians also usually correlate the presence of a caldera with explosive events and some are a quite clear correlation between the presence of a lake and a explosive eruption. A lake would need a deep caldera to form yes, but an eruption like would have happened regardless of whether there was a deep caldera near it. Maybe most of the time there was quiet effusion, but I think if this ever stopped for a period of time long enough to reduce gas emissions to low levels like right now then resumption of activity would probably be quite vigorous.

Nahuku is also huge, it probably connected to kazamura at some point before diverting. At the suns middle… is the plasma solid or liquid? Not sure what a plot of depth v pressure would be like deep inside a large object, possibly stratification and thermal transfers would come into play, as it seems intuitively unlikely that the pressure decreases towards the centre.

According to a book I read on helioseismology , at a certain depth, the sun reverts to solid body rotation. Cross sectional Rotation profile of the Sun from wikipedia as determined by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The sun has an average density a bit higher than water, some stars have densities higher than any solid we know can exist at standard conditions.

The biggest star we know of is in the large magellanic cloud and it is times the mass of the sun, extends almost to the orbit of Mars and has a density as high as lead, and it is still in its main sequence, or was recently anyway. This star which I forgot the name of R43a1? A main sequence ultraviolet hypergiant that was born bigger than the sun will ever be and is bright enough it could outshine entire small galaxies.

In a million years is going to go hypernova and tell the whole universe about it.

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Actually hypernova might not cut it… Ultranova might be better. There is a really hot star in the milky way that is less massive but really is bigger than mars orbit, it is called the pistol star. It is much further into its life cycle than Ra1 though, it will probably go impressive word nova in the next few hundred thousand years.

It radiates the same energy as the sun does in 1 year, in 20 seconds… It would take only a second or so for the pistol star to make enough energy to exceed the earths gravitational unbinding energy.

Neutronium is technically a liquid, not a solid, and it is not rigid but will flow even inside a neutron star. We did once find a star considerably larger than the one you mention, although not nearly as massive. It would have filled the solar system out to Saturn. UY Scuti is the one you are talking about I presume. That is the star with the biggest averaged diameter. Some have potential to be bigger but are more likely not bigger. All those giant stars are basically almost a vacuum with very energetic particles in it though, there is no surface of any real description.

It woud also decompress in an enormous explosion. That cube would weigh about tons and have a temperature in excess of 10 million K. The Sun does not actually produce that much energy per kilogram: it produces less than a human body does. The total amount of energy is large because the sun is so big. Imagine the earth is as big as a tennis ball. On that scale, a human is about 1 micron in size, i.