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ronalde000
2009-Jul-11, 04:21 AM
OK wasnt sure where to ask this so I thought I'd try here. I have just watched the movie Knowing this week. While i did enjoy it, i do recognize the plot to be somewhat absurb, My question is... Just how realistic is the movie's idea of a SuperFlare or Massive Coronial Mass Ejection? I know that for something that would be come close as depicted in the movie would require the Earth to be in the right place and at the right time for it to even have an effect on the planet. Im just wondering if such a massive flare would even be possible.

mugaliens
2009-Jul-11, 05:45 AM
At 11:18 am on Thursday, September 1, 1859, Richard Carrington, a leading solar astronomer, detected a solar flare.

Before dawn the next day, the the geomagnetic storm created by the flare's CME, a detached magnetic loop, set Earth's skies aflame with red, green, and purple auroras bright enough to allow people to read newspapers. Telegraph systems around the world were knocked out, shocking telegraphers.

Solar flares on the order of the Carrington event are estimated to occur twice in a millennium. Such an event would probably knock out most comsats and cause billions, if not trillions of dollars of damage to earth-based communications and power networks. Major portions of the Internet would probably be dead for a while. Long distance phone circuits, relying as they do in VoIP these days, would probably suffer similar fates.

The liklihood of an event seriously larger than the Carrington event, as in an order of magnitude larger, is exceedingly remote. Solar flare's leave traces in nitrates contained in ice cores, and there's not been any such planet-killing flare in the half million years of ice core samples collected to date.

astromark
2009-Jul-11, 06:41 AM
Thank you 'Mugaliens'... A most excellent reply. I am in no doubt you are correct as a little search soon confirms your facts as true... As good as this is, I will predict those whom venture to the movie's plot will not be so calmed... December the 21st 2012 and, now killer solar flares... we are doomed...Lol,

but then, it could happen couldn't it ?:)...

Concerning to me is just how quick the uninformed are to grasp with unbending belief some half harted attempt at a science fiction film... Its disappointing. All that education, wasted.

astromark
2009-Jul-11, 07:04 AM
Maybe ( just ) I am being unfair... and WELCOME. 'Ronald000'.
You ask if such is even possible., and I will say no its not. As has been said. The known history of solar prominences is well documented since before humanity walked upright.
That might not be a 100% definitive NO. Its as near as we can be to the idea that this is not a significant danger to humanity's natural environment. Whew, I trust this helps you sleep.

mugaliens
2009-Jul-11, 07:52 PM
Thanks for your compliment, Astromark.

While it's highly unlikely with our Sun, it may be possibile for another planet with another sun, to be fried every half-million years, leaving nothing but cave slime to carry on.

G O R T
2009-Jul-12, 09:24 AM
My question is... Just how realistic is the movie's idea of a SuperFlare or Massive Coronial Mass Ejection?

Coronal Mass Ejections affect the Earth via solar energetic particles. Some of the ionised mass ejected at high speed makes it to the Earth and is channeled by the Magnetosphere. Spread due to area and rate diffusion of the ejected mass significantly reduce damage at this distance.

The premise of the movie (and an episode of Stargate Atlantis) is that a coherent mass of hot plasma, orders of magnitude larger than observed, actually makes it out this far. This seems quite impossible. Such an occurance would actually deplete the Suns mass by a detectable amount.

If such things occured, there should also be observable IR evedence of it around other stars.

matthewota
2009-Aug-18, 11:44 PM
I did some research online about "super" flares.

I have been a solar observer for years, but only on one occasion did I see a solar flare with my own eyes. I had an H-alpha telescope set up at the open house at the Headquarters of Carnagie Observatories in 2005. When I put the sun in the field of view, instead of all-red color ball I saw a dazzling white 'crack' on the face of the Sun. When I asked a seasoned astronomer to look, he told me it was a solar flare. I have not been able to catch one since.

For the short period of time I worked as a professional solar astronomy analyst at the 60 foot solar tower at Mt. Wilson, I never witnessed even a sunspot on the sun's surface. I was taking "direct" film images every day and they were showing blank faces. This was at the start of the current Solar Minimum.

After seeing the movie "Knowing" I did some research on the history of solar flare observing and looked up Carrington's flare. NASA has a concise write-up here (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/06may_carringtonflare.htm?) and astronomer Steve Oldenwald has done a lenthy story about his career here. (http://www.solarstorms.org
/SCarrington.html)

After reading the historical records there is no sign that a flare on the scale shown in the movie has ever happened. Not to say that flares of this magnitude do not happen on other stars. Our Sun has behaved itself nicely over the lifetime of the solar system to allow life to flourish on Earth. There is no indication that a large flare as shown in the movie will ever happen at all.

There are over a thousand solar astronomers all around the world that spend their entire careers studying the sun. Their work is important and deserves adequate funding.

mugaliens
2009-Aug-19, 07:37 PM
Thank you, Matthew, for your excellent summary! May we continue to live in solar peace.

astromark
2009-Aug-19, 09:13 PM
Sigh... As I awake and look east at the beauty of a sunrise.. but whats that thing that looks like a feather hanging of the side of the sun...and then I woke up, Its raining again. Thank you matthewata..

rambof07
2012-Aug-28, 03:05 PM
OK wasnt sure where to ask this so I thought I'd try here. I have just watched the movie Knowing this week. While i did enjoy it, i do recognize the plot to be somewhat absurb, My question is... Just how realistic is the movie's idea of a SuperFlare or Massive Coronial Mass Ejection? I know that for something that would be come close as depicted in the movie would require the Earth to be in the right place and at the right time for it to even have an effect on the planet. Im just wondering if such a massive flare would even be possible.

It's great to know about it and it's looking interesting..........

Gomar
2012-Sep-04, 01:40 AM
I have just watched the movie Knowing this week. While i did enjoy it, i do recognize the plot to be somewhat absurb

no kidding! Those people were in fact not aliens, but humans from the future. They were trying to save humanity by transplanting youths to a safe world to begin over. Thus, in fact, they were preserving themselves/their future selfs. Now, the question arises is how did humans originally get transplanted to the other planet, or how did humanity survive the solar flare unless someone assisted them?!

So, yes, the plot is absurd, as is the solar flare wiping out life on Earth; ifcourse, you have to ask who was John Connor's original father if
Kyle Reese hadnt been sent back in time to impregnate Sarah Connor? Cause before effect, a time loop, a catch 22.

VonBelmont
2012-Sep-05, 10:05 PM
OK wasnt sure where to ask this so I thought I'd try here. I have just watched the movie Knowing this week. While i did enjoy it, i do recognize the plot to be somewhat absurb, My question is... Just how realistic is the movie's idea of a SuperFlare or Massive Coronial Mass Ejection? I know that for something that would be come close as depicted in the movie would require the Earth to be in the right place and at the right time for it to even have an effect on the planet. Im just wondering if such a massive flare would even be possible.


It could be true.... It is just like a volcano. Nature may not see a supervolcano often in many many years, but such incidents may happen. I believe there is an element of truth behind that it could happen, not to say it will.

VonBelmont
2012-Sep-05, 10:06 PM
no kidding! Those people were in fact not aliens, but humans from the future. They were trying to save humanity by transplanting youths to a safe world to begin over. Thus, in fact, they were preserving themselves/their future selfs. Now, the question arises is how did humans originally get transplanted to the other planet, or how did humanity survive the solar flare unless someone assisted them?!

So, yes, the plot is absurd, as is the solar flare wiping out life on Earth; ifcourse, you have to ask who was John Connor's original father if
Kyle Reese hadnt been sent back in time to impregnate Sarah Connor? Cause before effect, a time loop, a catch 22.

Let's not hit on the... supernatural side of it. The OP was not asking this.