G3 Geomagnetic Storm Incoming

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
There was a really good video by National Geographic called American Blackout that played out a lot of the scenarios people would be dealing with in the aftermath of a cyber attack that knocked out the power grid. Went over some of the statistics and information that showed how bad it could get in the aftermath of the grid going down. Not something I want to experience, but the show was very informative.
 

FastTurtle

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
16
Thanks HOF for the reminders. I've been looking into solar since the late 80's and we just had a 12kw array installed. Not hooked up yet and we don't have batteries, which is next on our list but we do have a grid tie system that's not connected so in that event, we will at least have lights and such.

Out next step is to build a new house but with Off-Grid in mind. That means not only a Solar Array but Solar Water Heating that's also used to heat the house using hot water baseboard heaters. We've only been designing the house since the late 80's when Solar was just becoming practical so you see how realistic of an Idea that is.
 
Last edited:

jtr1962

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
6,624
Location
Flushing, NY
The big question is would a solar system and the associated electronics survive a geomagnetic storm like the Carrington Event? If not, and there's no way to harden them, not much point, at least from a having power after a geostorm perspective.

I'm looking into solar myself sometime in the next few years. I'll get an inverter which has the flexibility to deal with different battery types. When you buy a backup batteries from the same people who sell panels and inverters, they're usually hideously expensive. Meanwhile, you can buy surplus batteries from several places for ~$100/kW-hr or less. I'll go with LiFePO4 for its long life and safety. Based on my usage, 20 to 30 kW-hr should do it.
 
Last edited:

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
If an off grid system is hooked up during a surge from a CME or emp, it could very well overload and be damaged. If the system is disconnected and powered up after the event subsides, odds are it will be okay. Make sure you can quickly disconnect the system if you see auroras in the sky.
 

FastTurtle

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
16
Ours is a Grid-Tie System, meaning we depend on the grid during the night while feeding energy during the day. Works quite well though if the Carington even happens during the day, we may be screwed if no one can disconnect the main brieker before all the electronics are fried. May also fry the electronics for the PV Array though it's possible to work around that fairly easily. Means a loss of output though as we'd then not have MPT (max power tracking) from the electronics. As we also don't have batteries yet, we would not be any better off during the night since as everyone else would also be without power. Daytime though, we'd be in fairly good shape as our system was sized to provide 100 percent of our worst case daily usage during the winter.

Been designing/planning a new house with Solar for Heating and Power with both a PV array and Solar Water Heating. Means using lots of LED though Flourescent bulbs might be as useful. Depends on the PFC (power factor correction) needed but I expect to be able to handle our normal needs with a 50a 230v Split-Phase invertor. Doesn't sound like much but when you consider that many homes didn't get more then 50a until the beginnings of the 70's (50 years ago) when the United Stated increased the standard service to 100a when Central Air become more common. The only reason we have a 200a Circuit is an All Electric House so it makes sense to look into the options through places like https://unboundsolar.com/. Had several others bookmarked but lost them in a Crash some time back and didn't realize it.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
A grid tied solar system does not work at all during a blackout unless tied in with battery backup such as Generac Pwrcell or Tesla Powerwall. The system is designed to shut down for safety in the event of a blackout. Grid tied solar panels don’t usually have a neutral wire to return the unused current so that energy would cause a fire (if they did, they might back feed the grid and electrocute people working on the power lines, if you didn’t have a transfer switch). Trying to mess with your panels to run your house without batteries to stabilize the amount of current used would overload your electronics or cause brownouts and possibly catch your house on fire. Please don’t do it.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
We had a G3 geomagnetic storm sneak by early this week. This next one probably won’t be that big of a deal. There is a gigantic sunspot on the backside of the sun that should start facing forward in about a week. That’s what I’d watch out for if it’s still intact by then (too early to tell). It threw a decent sized CME at Mercury. Earth could be next. I think it might be the same sunspot that produced the last round of geomagnetic storms but it may have grown since then. Be ready for round two. Right now the sun is pretty quiet, other than possibly a G2 storm from a dying sunspot headed our way. I think this is the calm before the geomagnetic storm. Wait a week or two for that huge sunspot to face us (if it doesn’t die out by then) and we could possibly see some much larger CMEs heading our way.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
That huge sunspot coming around the corner of the sun shot off three flares that were recorded as M class flares today. They may actually have been X class flares because most of the flare’s view was blocked by the sun. The sunspot will be facing us in a matter of days. Then we could have a couple weeks of constant CMEs and geomagnetic storms (if it doesn’t break up). Get ready. This is a big one.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
That massive sunspot group just rounding the corner of the sun just threw out an X1 class solar flare. Get ready for about two weeks of this activity as it shoots CMEs our way, and it makes it’s way across the front side of the sun. A Carrington type event is a possibility. This sunspot group is trouble. Get ready for some large geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms, and radio blackouts in the coming days.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
The sun has been busy. In the last couple days there have been about a half dozen M class flares and yesterday an X2.2 class flare. Luckily, the X2.2 was from a sunspot that had just turned away from the earth side so any CME will miss us. The one we have to watch out for now is the most recent M9.6 (almost X class) flare from the sunspot group almost directly facing earth. A CME from that solar flare is likely heading toward earth now. The flare caused a shortwave radio blackout at frequencies below 30 MHz for about an hour over Southeast Asia and Australia. The source of the flare was the massive sunspot complex AR2993-94. The flare caused a type II solar radio burst, a sign it may have produced a CME. The sunspot group AR2993-94 is just now starting to really face earth so any more large flares will likely affect us. This was the sunspot group I was warning about.

Edit: Looks like the CME is going to miss or at most give a glancing blow. We’re still in the direct line of fire of a sunspot group capable of shooting off more X class flares though. We won’t be out of the woods until this sunspot group reaches the backside of the sun.
 
Last edited:

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
Well the good news is that the sunspot group didn’t produce any major earth directed CMEs while facing earth. It did manage to produce 3 major M class flares and an X class flare as it turned to the backside of the sun on April 30. We lucked out big time that it only fired off the big shots off to the sides.

Now the bad news. There is a new sunspot coming around the corner that just fired off an X1.1 flare. It probably won’t be earth directed, but this is evidence of another sunspot that is capable of very strong flares that will be facing earth in the days ahead. The sun seems to be launching X flares every week or two now (2 in the last week).
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
We had an X1.5 solar flare today from sunspot AR3006 which is directly facing earth. This caused a shortwave radio blackout over an hour centered over the Atlantic Ocean. Since there were several CMEs at the time of this flare, experts are still analyzing where the CME from this flare is heading. It may be heading for earth, but it’s too soon to say for sure.
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
13,492
Location
In a handbasket
There seems to be a trend in online media to blow these stories way out of proportion just to get clicks. I ran across one headline a couple of weeks ago that said an incoming CME was "potentially" going to wreak all kinds of havoc on the planet. Then farther down in the body of the story, it said there was a <5% chance of this happening. Another well known media outlet did the very same thing today - mass havoc about to occur, a thousand years of darkness, dogs & cats living together - mass hysteria! And again the article went on to say "well, there's less than a 5% chance of this actually happening."

The media has found a source for their clickbait and it p***es me off to seem them distorting scientific data just to get people to click and view their ads.

The end result? I'm now a little desensitized to these stories. Thanks, greedy knuckleheads.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
16,776
Location
My own little Idaho
Boy who cried wolf syndrome.

By the way, cats are barking, dogs are purring already and nobody seems to care. Talk about it and you're called a conspiracy nut.
Eh, such is life.
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,835
We had several M class solar flares recently. All of them missed earth because they were on the edges of the sun. Don’t get worked up unless you see something above a G3 solar storm aimed straight at earth. Anything less is just a cool light show. X class flares make news, but unless they are long duration (long enough to produce a good sized cme), they don’t do much more than cause radiation risks to people in space and on airplanes and cause radio blackouts for about an hour. Don’t believe everything you hear and do your homework before freaking out over nothing.
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
13,492
Location
In a handbasket
We had several M class solar flares recently. All of them missed earth because they were on the edges of the sun. Don’t get worked up unless you see something above a G3 solar storm aimed straight at earth. Anything less is just a cool light show. X class flares make news, but unless they are long duration (long enough to produce a good sized cme), they don’t do much more than cause radiation risks to people in space and on airplanes and cause radio blackouts for about an hour. Don’t believe everything you hear and do your homework before freaking out over nothing.
Thanks HOF. I wasn't freaked out over the stories, just aggravated that the media was making mountains out of molehills for profit's sake. It's similar to what happens during TV Sweeps Week, where your local news pulls out all of those cheesy scary headlines to snag viewers.
 

Stefano

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
1,064
Location
Italy
I know we don't have 100% prediction capability for solar flares. And that in the past some things have escaped observation and were known too late or when they were already on the way.
Sooner or later there will be another Carrington event and its consequences could be disastrous.
The collapse of the GPS network alone would bring immense inconvenience.
Once I read that without the GPS network the ATM network does not work, I do not know if this is true
(it was said that without the GPS system the time synchronization does not work and the ATM network goes haywire)
 
Top