According to Astronomy Now, the most powerful solar storm was recorded in 1859. It was known as the Carrington Flare in honour of the English Astronomer Richard Carrington who observed it at the Colaba Observatory in India. Thanks to this solar storm, auroras (or the Northern Lights) were seen at latitudes as low as Madrid and even the Caribbean Sea. And more importantly, the solar storm caused power outages and fires at telegraph facilities all over Europe and North America.
Ever since, geomagnetic storms caused by the sun pose a serious threat to a society that is increasingly reliant on technology by directly affecting power and communication networks.
Recently (10 October 2015), NASA's orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory has mapped an enormous coronal hole – a gap in the Sun's outer layer and magnetic field – which is the size of 50 earths and is releasing an extra-fast solar wind in Earth's direction.
The gap lets out a stream of particles travelling at up to 800 kilometres per second that if aimed towards Earth, could result in a geomagnetic storm, a phenomenon that can affect power and navigation for satellites orbiting the Earth as well as radio communication. Newspaper reports don’t say how big the impact might be. Could it shut down the Internet or telephone networks?
But it says as the coronal hole continues its slow march westward on the sun's surface (to the right, from earth's perspective), solar winds will stay strong, according to US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As far as I can understand, our life is dependent on huge cosmic forces over which we have NO control. (And I don’t mean the positions of the so-called planets on your astrological chart). What would happen if the coronal hole was the size of 500 Earths instead of 50? What if it was 5000?
Surely, there is a tipping point. If the hole goes beyond that point, it might lead to the end of the world as we know it. And this is just one aspect of the sun. There would be thousands of other cosmic phenomena that might kill everyone on earth, everyone, irrespective of whether they eat beef, pork, or just vegetables.
India has been one of the oldest civilisations on earth that nurtured rationality and intellectual openness. It produced Boudhayana, who had propounded the "Pythagorean Theorem" 200 years before Pythagoras, the same Boudhayana and Aryabhatta who discovered irrational numbers, and finally, Brahmagupata, who introduced the decimal system with place values in 628 AD, the one revolutionary concept that changed the future of maths, accounting, and science – yet, in the same country, THE RAGING DEBATE TODAY IS WHETHER THE VEDAS APPROVE OF LYNCHING A MAN WHO MIGHT HAVE EATEN BEEF.
In the last fortnight or so, three innocent law-abiding Indians like you or me have been brutally murdered in three states in India merely on the suspicion that they had eaten beef or killed a cow. Shame and disgust are bloody inadequate words for what our ruling party, the BJP and its armies of goons are systematically doing to our polity, or even at a more fundamental societal level. If this violent march of unreason and hatred continues, India will be destroyed as a country long before any solar flare destroys the earth.
Let’s respect everyone’s right to eat what they wish, to do what they wish, as long as it doesn’t harm others. Let me accept that you have the right to have an opinion different from mine. Let everyone accept that intolerance to others’ views or beliefs or life-style is unacceptable in the civilised world. The moment we start tolerating intolerance, we too begin our inexorable journey towards being a Taliban or IS perhaps with a different religious tag.
And certainly, the time has come when everyone must stand up and protest against irrationality and bigotry that kill others. One must protest against the not-so-hidden agenda of turning India into a Hindu Pakistan.
PLEASE STAND UP NOW AND PROTEST!
If you agree with my views, the least you can do is to share this post and spread the message to a wider audience. Today. Because tomorrow may be too late.
If you disagree, you are welcome to enter a civilised debate here. Will you?
Bengaluru / Monday, 19 October 2015