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Astronomy/2013 Solar flares causing power outages

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Question
Hello! My question is about the incredibly confusing information on the internet about what the possible effects will be of the 2013 season solar flares. I've read everything from mild GPS disturbances to world-wide power outages lasting for years.

Could you explain the reality of the situation? If power outages are one thing to expect, could they truly last for years? Thank you!

Answer
Hello Bethany...and thanks for using AllExperts
Although they're the most violent events in our solar system, solar flares can not cause a world-wide power outage. Just to cause a temporary and localized outage, such a flare would have to be "aimed" directly at Earth and be of extraordinary power. Companies, especially in the US, have learned a lot from those past massive power blackouts, none of which were caused by solar flares. Nowadays power grids are much more autonomous, meaning that if one grid fails it doesn't take down adjoining grids as has happened in the past.

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Patrick Weiler

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I`d be pleased to answer questions about any aspect of astronomy, particularly those related to cosmology, astrophysics, and planetary sciences. I can also provide reliable information on unique topics like dark energy, dark matter, black holes, etc.,.

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Teacher, adult after-hours education at local community college, including frequent "star parties." I have my own telescope system, and continue to stay apace of recent developments and emerging theories in the field.

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BA, liberal arts with emphasis on sciences. BS, computer technology.

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