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‘Internet apocalypse’: Increased solar activity fuels internet blackout rumors

Jun 30

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Solar activity is ramping up at a rate faster than scientists predicted, fueling speculation of a potential global internet blackout. Social media users are abuzz with discussions about a looming “internet apocalypse.”

While experts assert that fears of an impending blackout are exaggerated, the concerns are not entirely fiction.

Since 2019, the sun has been in a phase known as “Solar Cycle 25.” During these cycles, scientists monitor events occurring in the sun’s atmosphere.

At the commencement of the current cycle, the National Weather Service predicted that peak sunspot activity would happen in 2025, with the overall activity of the cycle being “fairly weak”. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported that the cycle has escalated at a much faster pace than initially predicted.

Solar activity can have a direct impact on Earth and that’s why experts track it.

“Tracking and predicting the Sun’s solar cycles gives a rough idea of the frequency of space weather storms of all types – from radio blackouts to geomagnetic storms and solar radiation storms – and it’s used by many industries to gauge the potential impact of space weather on Earth,” NOAA explains.

NOAA says that extreme geomagnetic storms could result in complete collapse or blackouts in certain grid systems, reports CBS.

While this raises concerns about the possibility of an internet apocalypse, the term is not officially used by NOAA or NASA. Rather, it seemingly originates from a 2021 research paper authored by a computer science professor in California.

The research paper examined solar superstorms capable of causing widespread internet outages across the globe. The paper describes these events as “one of the greatest dangers facing the internet.”

Nevertheless, the paper noted the likelihood of an extreme space weather event directly impacting Earth ranges from 1.6% to 12% every decade. It is a statistical analysis that has seemingly contributed to heightened concerns amidst reports of increased solar activity.

Researchers emphasize that Solar Cycle 25, which we are currently experiencing, is expected to be average to solar cycles in the past century.

The most significant solar storm ever recorded, known as the Carrington Event in 1859, wreaked havoc on telegraph systems worldwide. NASA reports that the event literally shocked telegraph operators and set telegraph paper on fire.

“What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun,” explains David Hathaway, solar physics team lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

If a similar event were to occur today, NOAA says it could inflict severe damage on satellites, disrupt communication systems encompassing telephones, radios, and televisions, and trigger widespread electrical blackouts that could take weeks or longer to fix.

Despite social media users propagating these doomsday predictions, events of such magnitude are thought to occur only once every 500 years.

In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, a mission aimed at studying our fiery star up close. The probe has been journeying through the sun’s atmosphere, collecting data on solar winds, particles, and other pertinent phenomena. The agency says the information has the potential to enhance our comprehension of the sun and aid in predicting future space weather events.

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SOLAR ACTIVITY IS RAMPING UP FASTER THAN SCIENTISTS PREDICTED – AND IT’S FUELING RUMORS WE COULD ALL SOON WITNESS A GLOBAL INTERNET BLACKOUT – SOMETHING PEOPLE ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA ARE HYPING UP CALLING IT THE LOOMING INTERNET *APOCALYPSE* 

 

WHILE EXPERTS SAY FEARS OF THAT HAPPENING RIGHT NOW ARE OVER EXAGGERATED IT’S NOT COMPLETELY UNFOUNDED .. HERE’S WHY:

 

THE SUN HAS BEEN IN WHAT’S CALLED ‘SOLAR CYCLE 25’ SINCE 20-19 … DURING THESE CYCLES SCIENTISTS TRACK EVENTS HAPPENING IN THE SUN’S ATMOSPHERE

 

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CURRENT CYCLE SOME 4 YEARS AGO, THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PREDICTED THAT PEAK ACTIVITY ON THE SUN WOULD HAPPEN SOMETIME IN 2025 

 

BUT EARLIER THIS MONTH THE NATIONAL OCEANIC ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION REPORTED THE CYCLE HAS QUOTE RAMPED UP MUCH FASTER THAN WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY PREDICTED

 

ACTIVITY ON THE SUN CAN HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT ON EARTH AND THAT’S WHY WE TRACK IT

 

ACCORDING TO NOAA THE SUN’S SOLAR CYCLES GIVE US A ROUGH IDEA OF THE FREQUENCY OF *SPACE WEATHER STORMS* OF ALL TYPES – FROM RADIO BLACKOUTS TO GEOMAGNETIC STORMS AND SOLAR RADIATION STORMS – AND IT’S USED BY MANY INDUSTRIES TO GAUGE THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF SPACE WEATHER ON EARTH

 

NOAA SAYS WITH EXTREME GEOMAGNETIC STORMS SOME GRID SYSTEMS MAY EXPERIENCE COMPLETE COLLAPSE OR BLACKOUTS

 

SO WHERE DOES THE INTERNET APOCALYPSE FACTOR IN? THAT’S NOT AN ACTUAL TERM USED BY NOAA OR NASA – THE PHRASE STEMS FROM THIS ONE RESEARCH PAPER OUT OF CALIFORNIA

 

IN IT THE AUTHOR ANALYZES SOLAR SUPERSTORMS THAT CAN POTENTIALLY CAUSE LARGE-SCALE INTERNET OUTAGES COVERING THE ENTIRE GLOBE – CALLING THEM QUOTE ONE OF THE GREATEST DANGERS FACING THE INTERNET

 

BUT THE PAPER NOTED THAT THE PROBABILITY OF AN EXTREME SPACE WEATHER EVENT HAVING A DIRECT IMPACT HERE ON EARTH IS BETWEEN 1.6% TO 12% EVERY DECADE – THAT’S WHY REPORTS OF INCREASED SOLAR ACTIVITY HAVE RAISED SOME CONCERNS

BUT YOU CAN BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF BECAUSE RESEARCHERS SAY SOLAR CYCLE 25 WHICH WE’RE IN RIGHT NOW IS ONLY AVERAGE COMPARED TO THE SOLAR CYCLES OF THE PAST CENTURY.. 

 

THE BIGGEST SOLAR STORM EVER OBSERVED WAS THE CARRINGTON EVENT IN 1859… IT CAUSED TELEGRAPH SYSTEMS WORLDWIDE TO GO HAYWIRE ACCORDING TO NASA WHICH SAYS THE EVENT LITERALLY SHOCKED OPERATORS AND EVEN SET TELEGRAPH PAPER ON FIRE

 

IF AN EVENT LIKE THAT WERE TO HAPPEN TODAY – NOAA SAYS IT COULD SEVERELY DAMAGE SATELLITES, DISABLE COMMUNICATIONS BY TELEPHONE RADIO & TV *AND* CAUSE ELECTRICAL BLACKOUTS OVER ENTIRE CONTINENTS THAT WOULD TAKE WEEKS OR LONGER TO FIX

 

VIDEOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE BEEN MAKING THE ROUNDS CLAIM THAT TYPE OF DOOMSDAY IS ON ITS WAY… THO THE POWER OF SUCH AN EVENT IS THOUGHT TO ONLY OCCUR EVERY 500 YEARS

 

STILL GETTING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE SUN IS A GOOD THING – IN 2018, NASA LAUNCHED ITS PARKER SOLAR PROBE TO THE FIERY STAR.. IT’S BEEN TRAVELING THROUGH THE SUN’S ATMOSPHERE-  COLLECTING DATA ABOUT SOLAR WINDS, PARTICLES AND OTHER AREAS THAT COULD BETTER IMPROVE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SUN. THE AGENCY BELIEVES IT COULD ALSO POTENTIALLY HELP US BETTER PREDICT FUTURE SPACE WEATHER EVENTS

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