In coming years, the Sun, which owes its existence to every living thing on earth, can give its inhabitants a nasty surprise. Now the light passing through 11-year cycles of development, gradually increasing activity, which reached a peak in 2013.
It is possible that in three years will happen solar storm, accompanied by high-speed solar wind streams. Consequences for human civilization could be severe.
Powerful solar emissions can damage the power lines, satellites, navigation systems and devices, communications (including the Internet), and the financial system. Although the implementation of this scenario, experts believe it unlikely this week in Washington, consultations, during which experts from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, and other organizations discussed how best to prepare for such a cataclysm.
"The sun wakes up from a deep sleep. The next few years will be marked by increased solar activity. Modern technological society ever sensitive to solar storms. The combination of these two factors, we are going to discuss, "- said before the conference, Richard Fisher, head of heliophysics at NASA.
If solar storms occur, to address its consequences will have to spend a lot of time — in particular, only the replacement of transformers in power lines could take a year. Widespread power outages, in turn, will have more serious consequences — such as the depletion of drinking water because of the inaction of pumping stations and large-scale adulteration of food due to termination of refrigeration.
Although the probability of a solar storm, scientists estimate is low, such disasters have occurred in the past. The strongest solar storm on record occurred in 1859 and was named "Carrington Event" — after the British astronomer Richard Carrington. Because of the strong solar flare observed in the world the bright northern lights, in Europe and the United States were marked by widespread failures in the Telegraph.