NASA: Solar storm to hit earth in 2013
NASA scientists predict a solar storm will hit the earth in 2013 mostly affecting electronic devices leading to a major catastrophe, Press TV reported.
The once-in-a-generation storm, caused by extremely high levels magnetic energy released by solar flares, "will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic," says Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, quoted in a June 14 Daily Telegraph article.
"Large areas will be without electricity power," says Fisher who emphasizes that the emergence of the storm is certain, though its degree of severity cannot be accurately foretold.
The National Academy of Sciences warned two years ago that a strong solar storm could cause "twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina," which devastated US Gulf of Mexico coastal city of New Orleans in 2005, killing thousands and living an estimated damage of over $125 billion.
According to Fisher, the storm, which will cause the sun to reach temperatures of more than 10,000 F (5,500 C), occurs "only a few times over a person's life."
Every 22 years, according to the report, the Sun's magnetic energy cycle reaches its highest level as the number sun spots - or flares - peaks every 11 years. These two events, says Fisher, "would combine in 2013 to produce huge levels of radiation."
In recent months, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has offered unique photos of sun spots, which release a vast amount of energy as they light up.