You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Ohio House budget proposal would eliminate Municipal Clerk’s office

Earth narrowly avoided huge solar storm in 2012

So it turned out 2012 wasn't the big "end of the world" cataclysm some folks thought it would be, but a new report says it came closer than you might expect. (Via NASA)

The study, published in Nature Communications, looked at solar storms in 2012 and says this explosion, captured by NASA's STEREO observatory, just missed hitting Earth by a few days.

Not to scare you, but coronal mass ejections, where a bit of the sun breaks off and goes flying toward Earth, are common, and if a big one like 2012's hit us, it could pretty much collapse our electronic infrastructure.

In the press release accompanying the study, the researchers describe a perfect storm: two blasts with the power of a billion hydrogen bombs occurring back-to-back, racing along a path cleared out by a mid-sized blast a few days earlier. And all of it went right through the area where Earth had just been. (Via University of California, BerkeleyNASA)

>> Read more trending stories

These kinds of solar events are the cause behind auroras, the northern and southern lights. Charged particles light up Earth's magnetic poles, putting on a massive show. (Via NASA)

But they do way more than that. These magnetic storms can wreak havoc on electronics.

The biggest solar storm ever recorded took place in 1859. The so-called Carrington Event caused auroras visible all the way into the tropics. The near-global spectacle has become the stuff of legend: the NOAA tells the tale of Colorado gold miners who got up and went to work at 1 a.m. because the lights were so bright they thought the sun had come up, and Ars Technica posts a supposed transcript between two telegraph operators who were able to keep sending signals across the country with no batteries because there was so much current in the cable. (Via NASANOAAArs Technica)

Of course, that was before most of the electronics we have now even existed. A storm that size today would be much more destructive, taking out power grids, satellites and communications.

Estimates vary, but generally it's thought another Carrington Event now would cause trillions of dollars in damages and could take years to recover from, maybe even decades. (Via National Academy of Sciences)

And guess what? That's exactly the kind of storm we unknowingly avoided in 2012! Fingers crossed for 2014, everyone.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation World

Recall: 42K pounds of ready-to-eat chicken undercooked
Recall: 42K pounds of ready-to-eat chicken undercooked

DECATUR, Ala. -- More than 42,000 pounds of chicken are being recalled after several people complained that the ready-to-eat chicken was undercooked, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. In a recall notice, officials said WFSP Foods in Decatur, Alabama, received several customer complaints...
Nordstrom selling work jeans covered in fake mud for $425 
Nordstrom selling work jeans covered in fake mud for $425 

  After it was ridiculed for selling designer rocks at Christmas, Nordstrom may have topped itself with its latest offer. The department store is offering a pair of jean covered in fake mud for a whopping $425. The retailer described its new Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans on its website as "rugged Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working...
Pit bull breaks from chain, mauls man to death
Pit bull breaks from chain, mauls man to death

A man was mauled to death Tuesday in Dayton by a pit bull, authorities said.  Dayton police were waiting Tuesday morning for a search warrant so they could enter a house near where the dogs were found.  >> Read more trending news  Three dogs were removed from the house after a dog fatally mauled a man who was walking in an...
New Carlisle dedicates new library wing in memory of Joan Steinlage
New Carlisle dedicates new library wing in memory of Joan Steinlage

When Joan Steinlage took her little girls to the old New Carlisle Public Library on the corner of Main and Madison streets, she wanted to instill in them a love of reading. She accomplished that and she also took the first steps in a lifelong commitment that would change New Carlisle forever. With her characteristic enthusiasm this mother got involved...
WWI 100 years later: Australians mark ANZAC Day at Air Force museum
WWI 100 years later: Australians mark ANZAC Day at Air Force museum

One by one, they laid red poppies next to three wreaths to remember the fallen of Australia and New Zealand. In the year marking the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I, about 100 people, some wearing the uniforms of foreign militaries marked ANZAC Day, commemorating the first major battle Australian and New Zealand troops fought in...
More Stories