An electromagnetic pulse that could have knocked electrical equipment over continent-scale regions barely missed Earth two weeks ago, it has been revealed.
Electromagnetic pulses, also known as EMPs, are massive surges of energy that can come from a severe solar flare or from a high altitude nuclear explosion.
‘The world escaped an EMP catastrophe,’ Henry Cooper, who now heads High Frontier, a group pushing for missile defence, told Washington Secrets.
Electromagnetic pulses, also known as EMPs, are massive surges of energy that can come from a severe solar flare, such as this one pictured on May 12, or from a high altitude nuclear explosion
THE CARRINGTON EVENT
On September 1, 1859, astronomer, Richard Carrington observed a sudden flash over a large area of sunspots on the sun.
Within 60 seconds the flash had already started to disappear, but early the next morning, there were reports that the northern lights were so bright that people could read the newspaper as if it were daylight.
At the same time strange things began happening worldwide telegraph systems.
Telegraph operators were being shocked unconscious and the flying sparks were setting their machines on fire.
When the telegraph operators disconnected their machines from the batteries, there were still sparks flying. This is because the power of solar flares induced electricity into the lines that carried the telegraph signals.
‘There had been a near miss about two weeks ago, a Carrington-class coronal mass ejection crossed the orbit of the Earth and basically just missed us,’ added Peter Vincent Pry, who served on the Congressional EMP Threat Commission.
‘Basically this is a Russian roulette thing,’ he said. ‘We narrowly escape from a Carrington-class disaster.’
The event isn’t rare. In 1989, an EMP effect in Canada knocking out Quebec’s electric transmission system.
And on May 12, one of the largest solar flares to be recorded this year took place. The Sun sent billions of tons of solar particles into space, but they were not traveling in Earth’s direction.
An overall increase in solar flare activity has been observed in the past 12 months, as the Sun reaches the peak of its 11-year cycle.
President Bill Clinton’s former Director of Central Intelligence, James Woolsey, led a panel earlier this week on the threat of a natural or nuclear EMP.
Experts have also recently demanded that Washington prepare the nation’s electric grid for an EMP.