Monday, November 19, 2012

Power cuts threat as sun storm hits earth

[Update: it turns out this is an old article. (There was no date, except the current date at the top.) So, never mind. I'll let it stand because it has a little background info too.]

Power cuts threat as sun storm hits earth, article.

The solar flare was classified as an X18-category explosion, meaning it can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms.
Although the charged particles present no direct danger to people on the ground, they could have a devastating effect on electrical equipment.
[...]  The result could be widespread power surges and even blackouts...

It seems it may be a good idea to keep important computers turned off tonight if you can, and unplug them. (A big powersurge can easily leap a turned-off switch, I've heard.)

An engineer from a big computer support company told me once that they always have a lot more work on the day after a lightning storm, particularly in the industrial areas, where a lot of devices are running 24/7.

I have installed powerstrips with power surge protection at critical places. Even so those have a limit, so I unplug the machines if an electrical storm comes close (less than several seconds between a lightning flash and the boom).


Kent McManigal said...

I'm not sure, but I believe that is an old article- they are "no longer accepting comments on this article" which usually means it is not a current article, plus I see no news on the "storm" from those who should know.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Mmmm, but there are no comments at all. And the date at the top (of the page, not the article, admittedly) says 19 Nov 2012.

... but then again it is not all over the news. Odd.

Kent McManigal said...

Looking at the url of the link I see it includes "article-200952" which may indicate it is from 2009. I keep an eye on, just because I am interested in that sort of thing, and they are very good about giving advance warnings and even warning about sunspots which seem to have potential to erupt.

Kent McManigal said...

Now I see they list the article as "Created: 29 October 2003 | Updated: 29 October 2003".

Mystery solved.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thank you.

I think it's odd they don't show the date in the article itself. It is after all a news article.

Also, I wonder how my friend found the article while browsing the news.

DeltaCubed said...

Regardless of the age of the article, mass media outlets are perhaps not the best place to get "science" news. Try this:

Or this search.

CalgaryMark said...

We get several thunderstorms a year, and my apartment building (from 1980) has old wiring. The public wiring is mostly overhead, so is vulnerable to lightning strikes. For several years I have protected my computers with an 'APC by Schneider Electric' battery back-up and surge protection - the device has very good power management capabilities and the software will power down the computer progressively in the event of a long-term power loss. The benefit to us (apart from the obvious) is that the computers seem to have a longer life before terminal crashes. :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Hmm, interesting, thanks.

It's a benefit of more compact countries that the power tends to be even, and outages are rare. We've just had two in the ten years I've lived here.