back to article Ginormous sunspot spews solar guts towards Earth

Our own star has developed an astonishingly huge case of hyperactive acne, with one blemish so large you could plop 18 or 19 earths onto it, and still have room to spare. That is, of course, if you could maneuver them close enough without the planets melting, or being sucked into that big ol' ball-o-plasma's guts. At 1900 …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    Eventually, the Universe will kill off humanity.

    Today, tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade, next century, next millennium, next aeon, eventually we'll all die en-mass.

    Me, I'm planning my planting and breeding schedule for the coming decade. Makes no sense to worry about events that I don't have any control over ...

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      But we are all going to die anyway. Just not all at the same time.

  2. Dick Emery

    Ah! So that's why my broadband dropped a meg overnight then.

    1. mrmond

      mine dropped as well at almost the same time. Just co-incidence perhaps.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stocking up

    In the UK, of course, it'll be pointed sticks and canned goods.

  4. Turtle

    Michio Kaku. Ugh.

    As I read in the comments section of a physics blog, "Michio Kaku is not a physicist, he just plays one on tv."

    He forfeited his scientific credentials years ago, when he decided that the primary purpose of science - or anything that unknowlegeable people could be persuaded to accept as science - was to get him on television.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge


    What's 18 or 19 earths in tera-doormats?

  6. Havin_it


    Repeat after me: It's not a word. It's not a word. It's not a word.

    Were we really that short of words that mean really big?

    1. Richard Scratcher

      Word shortage?

      No, we have gazillions of them.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Indeed a mahoosive number of them

  7. Antony Riley

    Not earth directed (yet), so it isn't going to cause geomagnetic storms or much trouble other than radio blackouts from the flare activity. Hopefully it'll chuck a few CMEs our way and light up the sky in the north in a few days.

  8. Matthew 25


    I thought that was an old Fiat

    1. Havin_it

      No, that's the X1.8, this is the muffler bracket from a '79 Pinto.

  9. David Roberts

    At last an explanation..

    ...for the banking systems all crashing around the same time....

  10. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    This spot is still a tiddler compared to some of the spots the sun had in the late 80s and early 90s. They were sort that were visible to the naked eye when the sun was setting and looked like rags of cloud or malformed birds floating in front of the sun.

    And I had to walk uphill to see em. In the snow! At night!

    1. Geoff May

      I have to ask ...

      But, how did you see the sun at night?

      1. Steven Roper

        How he saw the sun at night

        Maybe he lives in Iceland or Svalbard? You know, one of those places they call "the land of the midnight sun?"

      2. 404

        Very Carefully...

        ... the Biggest Lightbulb can blind you, you know.


      3. Armando 123

        "But, how did you see the sun at night?"

        Used a mirror, obviously.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would pay us to bear in mind ...

    That something like a Carrington event such as the one of 1859 would probably mean an effective end to what we call modern civilisation.

    At least mindless chat about which was the best mobile phone OS would cease to be relevant -- and an end to Facebook would be the immediate result. Imagine the ensuing riots!

    At least the gov would be spared the need to debate whether or not to switch off the internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and an end to Facebook would be the immediate result. Imagine the ensuing riots!"

      Except riots can only be organised on Facebook these days, it seems.

  12. DJV Silver badge

    I'm ok

    I have a hat.

  13. Annihilator Silver badge

    It's probably

    global warming...

    1. Armando 123

      It's all the fault of industrialism and consumer culture! I'm posting this to facebook with my smartphone so we can get rid of all this climate-ruining tosh! Rats, can anyone look up the closest Starbucks with wifi? My cell network is down and I need a decaf double mocha caramel espresso latte light with skim milk and chocolate sprinkles or I'll DIE!

  14. John Savard Silver badge

    Doomed Anyways

    Just because a giant solar flare won't send us back into the Dark Ages doesn't mean we're not doomed. Between the effects of globalization, which have led to an economy in which only the top 1% of the people matter, and global warming - we're doomed well enough without having the Mayan calendar to time it.

  15. JeffyPooh

    Radio communications

    The 10m ham band has been wide open recently. An active sun actually helps HF comms at the upper end of the HF bands. But solar flares do tend to make a mess of it. 73.

  16. Tatsky

    But.... The Reg told me in July...

    ...That sun spot activity was going to be at an all time low, and decades of cold winters were to come.

    But now we have an impending peak between 2012-2014

    Now I don't know what to believe.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      It is a peak in the current cycle

      But to date (as a sunspot observer for quite a while), I have seen far fewer sunspots now than in the maximum around 33 years ago when I started, even though I have a bigger scope than I had in those days. So while the 11 year cycle is more-or-less on course in terms of the period, the whole 11-year wiggle seems to be superimposed on a downward trend. The last minimum was amazing. Months might go by without a single spot. I never witnessed that in the first cycles I observed.

      They don't make sunspots like they used to! ;)

  17. Andus McCoatover

    In Finland, we've had a bit of Aurora recently - might explain.

    Natch, few can see them here, as we're in the first of Finland's 4 seasons ("nearly winter", "winter", "still winter", "roadworks") when it's overcast most of the time.

  18. Steve McPolin

    bullets and canned goods?

    meh, Dennis Miller (before he lost it and became a 'conservative comedian' - a contradiction in term) made fun of the y2k paranoids who encamped themselves with urine recyclers in the woods with the telling bon mot :

    'I would rather die with the cool people'.


  19. BrokenWing


    Is this the most link heavy article El Reg has ever come up with?

  20. James Micallef Silver badge

    45 minutes??

    "triggered some disruption to radio communications on Earth beginning about 45 minutes later," NASA said

    Why 45 minutes?? I thought it took something like 8 minutes for radiation at light speed to reach earth, so why is radiation from the solar flare taking so long??

    1. Armando 123

      That's light radiation; particles like protons, neutrons, and circus peanuts travel less than the speed of light and are the cause of the disruption.

      [NB I know that circus peanuts aren't involved in this, but I hate the things and will happily blame them for anything I can get away with.]

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bullets and canned food

    if you need to "stock up" then you aren't properly prepared are you now?

    perhaps a quick inventory would make sense though...

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