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Solar Maximum Archives - The Wonders Expedition™ - @Archeoastronomy

June 5, 2020

Dr. Mark Van Stone: Be Prepared, More Solar Flares Are On The Way

By Dr. Mark Van Stone
Author of 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya

Today, my favorite NPR station’s network broadcast was interrupted.  The local technicians had to improvise for a couple hours, because the satellite carrying their news feed was temporarily shut down by an electronic storm from the sun.  This is the kind of event that we shall see more of over the next 12 months, as we ride out a Solar Maximum.

IN SPACE - JANUARY 23:  In this handout from t...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The present Solar Max made its grand entrance two nights ago, catching our attention with the eruption of a strong solar flare, sending a coronal mass ejection towards earth, “Hocking a lugie” at us, as CNN put it.  On their website, CNN edited NASA’s press release thus:  “The equivalent of 10 billion tons of highly charged particles are hurtling at a rate of 3 million to 4 million miles an hour toward Earth.”

This is typical newsroom hyperbole.  Once I lived in New Hampshire, and whenever it snowed, I got anxious calls from my California relatives, concerned to hear of “Blizzards dumping tons of snow on New England.”  Yawn.  We got snowplows.  Now, my eastern relatives concernedly call when they learn of the latest 6.5-on-the-Richter-Scale earthquake that has “rattled” California.

To their credit, CNN featured a sober, trained meteorologist to give perspective to the event.  While warning that solar flare activity will indeed affect satellite communications, particularly GPS, he reminded us that this is normal, not a catastrophe.

Solar activity has an 11-year cycle: a rash of flares and solar storms for a few years, alternating with a period of relative quiet.  The peak of this cycle is known as a Solar Maximum, during which the sun roils and seethes with tremendous energy, often sending out huge fiery arcs.  These solar storms appear to us as dark “sunspots,” because they are relatively cool compared to the sun’s surface itself.  We are entering the peak year of the cycle.

Now, the last couple Solar Maxima have been relatively mild.  We have not had an intense storm for 30-odd years.  So, think back to the state of our long-distance communications in the early 1980s.  No cell phones, no GPS, and most of our long-distance calls went through cables, which are pretty robust, little-affected by solar flares.  Nowadays, nearly ALL our phone calls, Internet traffic, television, e-mail, stockbroker transactions, and burglar-alarm alerts go through satellites or cell-phone towers.  All these media are sensitive, easily disrupted by coronal ejections of charged particles.  Although no one can say for sure, many scientists expect this Solar Max could be a doozy, making up for the mild ones.  Or maybe not.

The worst-case scenario is a series of rolling blackouts.  The power grid can act like a miles-long antenna, and an electronic storm could pop some big fuses in the transmission stations, creating a domino-effect, cascading into massive blackouts that might last for a few hours (which is annoying) or a few days (which can be very expensive).  (This happened here in Southern California last September 8th, on which, more later.)   Perhaps equally problematic would be the loss of computer and telephone connections.  How would your life change if someone took away your Internet and phone for, say, three hours?  How about three days? (For a preview, ask someone in Iraq or Libya.)

During our blackout here in San Diego County and Tijuana, my worst inconvenience was that gas stations had no power to pump gas, so I couldn’t drive over to see my girlfriend.  And stores had to throw out massive amounts of produce and (un)frozen food.  (Dumpster-divers had a field day.  And, with no light pollution, I could see the glorious Milky Way from my parking lot, something impossible for the last half-century.  And, unable to watch TV or use the Internet, people came out of their homes, and actually talked to each other, sitting on stoops, and the like… It was great.  I think it would be a healthy policy for us to schedule a widespread power-shutoff for an hour once a month or so, just to slow us down a little… Dream on!)

In any case be prepared.  This kind of thing is going to happen more and more often, not less.

Now, I view the coming Solar Max disruptions as a nuisance, and wish to remind everyone that this is a regular event, whose effects are well known.  We don’t really suffer much down here on the Earth’s surface because we’re protected by the planet’s magnetic field, which directs the charged particles toward the poles, producing the Northern Lights.  And scientists don’t expect even a strong Solar Max to be particularly dangerous.  Even a tremendous solar flare, 10 times as big as we have ever seen, will not have the power to “blow away” this protective shield.  It would distort it, and maybe kill a few satellites whose electronics are not properly shielded.  But the worst we ought to expect is a long communications and travel blackout.  As bad as that could be—and, it could be pretty bad for some—It ain’t the end of the world.  This is not the collapse of civilization that overwhelmed the Maya, and the Olmec before them.  Not quite.

Sadly, most of the coming disruptions are preventable.  Hospitals already invest in backup power systems, stocking fuel and generators to carry them through a blackout.  Some entrepreneurs are already producing small, inexpensive generators for stores and gas stations.  Let’s hope SOME of our suppliers are investing therein!  (Computer programmers tell me that much of the expected Y2K “crash” was actually *prevented* by feverish activity of a band of noble geeks, staying up late rewriting code so computer systems would NOT crash.  Thank you!)  Nearly every problem we shall encounter due to solar storms will in some way be due to people neglecting to develop backups, or building robust shielding and delivery systems for power and data.

In any event, if a cascading-blackout, communications-satellite disruption, or other techno-failure results from this year’s Solar Maximum, it won’t be because the Maya foretold it.  It is mainly the fault of our short-sightedness, putting all our eggs in one basket; of trusting a fragile technology.

Which, on a wider scale, is what caused the Maya Collapse. And the Fall of Rome.

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2012, The Maya and The Solar Maximum

According to the world’s leading scientists at NASA, we officially have begun a new Solar Maximum.  Typically, these run like clockwork on an 11-year cycle–and somewhere in the middle of it all, there’s what they call the Solar Minimum, because there’s absolutely no sunspot activity going on at all.  Well, the first indications of this cycle seem to have begun in 2007, but predictions are that this Solar Maximum could be one of the worst one in 50 years. Does this mean we should all panic? We think not and can give plenty of legitimate, scientific and rational reasons why.

IN SPACE - JANUARY 23:  In this handout from t...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife


Well, most likely, we’re going to be able to observer an increase in the number of sunspots radiating out energy from the Sun.  We will see more and wider instances of the aurora borealis and there will be more wide-spread impacts on satellite communications.  But wait, there still isn’t reason for alarm here.

When this happens, energy is released from the sun that eventually reaches the earth’s magnetosphere and as a consequence, we wind up seeing more intense expansion of the aurora borealis, making them more visible further to the south around the world.  A few years ago apparently the aurora borealis could be seen in Mexico.

The energy also can affect satellites.  Now it’s worth pointing out here that there are more of these by the year so as time goes on there very naturally is going to be a greater impact on the earth’s satellite communications network, again, because there are more satellites today than there were say, 11 years ago during the last solar maximum or 22 years ago, or 33, etc.  This means that GPS units and other telecommunications may be disrupted from time-to-time.

Is that necessarily a bad thing?


We bring all this up here because the fringe element that have tried their darnedest to scare us all into believing in some catastrophic end on Dec. 21, 2012 hang their hats on a prediction of increased solar flares, or the Solar Maximum, happening in 2012 as evidence that doomsday is upon us.

But it’s important to remember three points here:

1) Solar flares happen on 11-year cycles and most likely have been happening since the sun began burning billions of years ago. Earth is still here.  Having one in 2012 is no different than the season in 2001, or even during the big noted storm of 1958.

One site mentionsThis week researchers announced that a storm is coming–the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). ‘The next sunspot cycle will be 30 percent to 50 percent stronger than the previous one,’ she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.”

For one, the last Solar Maximum experienced on Earth was generally considered a mild one.  Second, if this one is going to be “second to the one in 1958,” need we remind you that those living all around the world in 1958 survived that event and we are all still here?

2)  Our resident expert, Dr. Mark Van Stone, author of “2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya”  discusses this subject in his book.  He has done extensive studies on the Maya and their prophecy.  Here is all he included about sunspots in his most recent book:   “NASA predicts an unusually powerful ‘Solar Maximum’ (sunspot season) for 2012 (though it may peak as early as late 2011). This happens every 11 years, and disrupts satellite and other electromagnetic communications.”

Our point is, Dr. Van Stone, who was very extensive in his writings about Maya glyphs, Maya architecture, history etc. makes absolutely no mention of the Maya saying ANYTHING about solar flare activity in 2012.

3) News accounts, as you can see from the links below, also note this could be the worst solar storm season endured in the past five years.  Well, we pointed out that in the period right before 2007, we were in a Solar Minimum so there were no solar flares.  To say that this flare could be worse than it was when there were none happening, well, yeah…


So before you run out worried about the solar storm we now are enduring, just think of it as something that happens once every 11 years or so.  And for Heaven’s sakes, keep an eye out on the night skies.  Have you ever seen an aurora borealis?  They are truly amazing to behold!

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