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Electro Magnetic Pulse - Coronal Mass Ejections

2353 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Methos
I just got through reading the book "one second after" by William R. Forstchen. Its about the events following an EMP event - power failure, food shortage, looting, breakdown of civil order. Very interesting reading.

If you are unfamiliar with what an EMP is and what it can do, basically, it fries computer chips causing failure of the component whether its controlling the computer and ignition in your truck, a nuclear power plant's controller systems, or radios, tvs,...etc. They are produced by nuclear detonations. Wikipedia has a very good article on the subject.

The sun can also produce this same effect as an emp that can fry solid state electronic components as well. These events are called coronal mass ejections. They are rated on an intensity scale by nasa. The earth's magnetic field can shield from most of them, but it is possible that an extraordinarily intense one can overcome this and cause major problems. We just had a big one a few weeks ago that was right in the center of the scale, which is a rather large one compared to normal sun activity. It was such a cause for concern that they wrote an news blurb about it; but as it turned out, the earth took care of it fine.

IMHO this is probably the most realistic event that could actually cause the sort of SHTF scenario we see in the movies. It would place us back into the 19th century overnight; as well as cause the demise of millions and millions of humans in a 1st world country like ours. The scary thing is that one of these massive ejections could have happened at any time before the advent of solid state electronic components (maybe around 1970) and we'd have never known it happened because it wouldn't have had any observable effect on anything biological. Today we have the SOHO, which is a set of two satellites that monitor the sun's activity 24/7 and can detect and measure the intensity of these CME's. When one occurs, we have about 4 days notice before the wave gets to earth. Just enough time to go to town and get some provisions and gas, and kiss your air conditioning goodbye -- IF they announce it to the public, that is.

The only protection I've read about that can protect your personal electronic equipment is to create a faraday cage around the items. A metal trash can is what I use for my radios and gps unit. Just FYI.
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jakeg823 said:
I know little about the subject myself, buuuuut if it affects the earth, wouldn't it likely take out satellites as well? Making your gps a high dollar paperweight?
Your GPS, your car, your computer, your phone, pretty much anything that has electronic/electrical components.

Essentially, a CME/EMP is this: a VERY high power radio wave that anything metal picks up and gets fried. The only protection is a Faraday cage, which is a metal shield that diverts the wave to ground, protecting whatever is inside it.

We've all heard about the tin foil hat, right? The concept comes from the faraday cage. Aluminum and copper are good conductors, and as such are good for making a cage, providing that you can ground them.

WND had an article about it not long ago. http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=190721
Basic electrical circuits should be ok, but I'm not an electrical engineer or electrician. I just know some basic electrical principles that I use to troubleshoot on the job. Older vehicles, like my '95 chevy truck, would probably be ok (if it is turned off when the emp/cme hits), since afaik when you turn off the ignition you're actually opening the circuit. The metal body should catch the blast and divert it away from the ignition system. Newer vehicles have an "always on" system (as I understand it) similar to a computer that turns itself off and on. Maybe somebody else could pitch in on that point.

Stuff you would want to protect would be basic communications equipment, like small portable radio (if it has HF/shortwave it would be great since a CME would only affect the side of the globe pointed towards the sun, the other side would be shadowed and be ok, so you could get info from other nations), maybe handheld radios if you're a ham. If you have a small generator I would ground it while you have it in storage. You could easily get the stuff you'd need at any hardware store. If it is pullstart it would probably be ok, especially if you have it grounded. If it is electrical start I'm not sure. Might work if you disconnected the battery. Don't know about that. Google it.

Plans for a faraday cage are easy to find online. You could make one very easily and cheaply to cover a small building like a shed or something, just by getting aluminum screen, covering the building and grounding it.

I haven't yet done this, but very very soon I'm gonna build a storage shed (my carport is getting crowded with junk) and I'm gonna get prices and so forth on shielding the building to protect stuff inside.
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This is a video about EMPs. They make reference to the blackout of the northeast in 2003. I remember that well, as I was still living up north. Things were nuts. 'Course, we all were in Katrina, and know how it was. Think of that going on for a year or more.

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Here is part 2, where he sets off a small EMP

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In the event of a CME, depending on the extent of the flare, it could last a little while. The benefit of that scenario is that usually there is some warning. However... In the event of an EMP detonation, there is very little if any warning, but once it detonates, it's over. Most likely, it's over before you know what happened. As shown in the video above, nothing visible or physical would happen (aside from the slight chance of a fire caused by sparks, but thats unlikely). Once it happens, it's over.

In 1859, there was a solar flare that hit the earth that was so powerful that it caused sparks to fly from the telegraph keys. At that time that was the only extensive wiring systems in society, so the effect on the nation was small, relatively speaking. If the same thing happened now, we'd be instantly put back to the 19th century because of our dependence on technology.
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Test it by putting your cell inside it, put the lid on it, then call your phone. If it connects, then the cage isn't working. Try it both ungrounded and grounded.
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