Solar flares are fairly common, and for the most part, they are so weak that they do not affect the earth. On the other hand, a massive solar flare can do a lot of damage, especially to the power grid, as currently, we do not have any kind of protection against a massive solar flare. The good news is that the likelihood of a massive solar flare happening during our lifetime is fairly small, but not impossible.
The human body is not affected by solar flares so you do not need to directly protect yourself, electronic devices, on the other hand, need protection as they will be destroyed. Unplug your electronic devices, place them in a cardboard box and wrap the box around with aluminum foil, this is basically a Faraday cage, make sure to place the box on the ground this way the electric charge from the solar flares can safely be dissipated into the ground.
If you have valuable electronic devices and you want to keep them safe in case of a solar flare then my personal recommendation is to use a Faraday duffel bag which is certified for EMP protection Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
Unfortunately, even if you could protect all your electronic devices which you personally own these will still not function as most of these rely on a complex network which in an event of a massive solar flare will definitely go down. What you can do however is to protect some of your electronic devices that do not actually need to be connected to any kind of network to function.
The good news is that the human body would not be affected by a solar storm as we are protected by the earth’s atmosphere. Altho people on the surface of the earth would not suffer any direct harm from any solar flares the astronauts could be in big trouble if they are on the outside of the spacecraft.
The best way to protect your devices is with a Faraday cage, this is an enclosure formed by a conductive material that blocks external static and nonstatic electronic field by channeling electricity along and around but not through it while providing a constant voltage on all sides of the enclosure. Since the difference in voltage is the measure of electrical potential no current flows through the interior of it.
The cheapest way to protect electrical devices from solar storms is with simple metal boxes, you need to put the items that you want to protect in metal boxes and line the metal boxes inside with something non-conductive like a plastic bag or cardboard. Most of these items will be battery-powered or hand-cranked items so do not forget to also add the batteries and chargers into the metal boxes. If you are wondering what kind of work would you do after an apocalypse then check out my recent article List of post apocalyptic jobs ( Top 22 Jobs & Skills ).
What is a solar storm?
A solar storm is an eruption of energy from the solar surface. The solar surface is the outer shell of the sun which is called the photosphere, there are several solar activities such as flares, prominences, sunspots, and coronal mass ejections. The sudden release of energy from the solar surface is called a solar storm. Sometimes these particles make it all the way to the Earth and beyond by flowing along the Sun’s magnetic field into interplanetary space
This can affect the earth’s magnetic field which could result in strange things happening such as power grids going down. The worst-case scenario is that the entire planet could go dark. The last time that earth got hit by the solar storm was in the 19 th century in 1859 and this is called the Carrington Event and to this day this is the biggest solar storm on record. A solar flare was first spotted in September 1859 by English astronomer Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson.
The solar storm caused very bright auroras to appear around the world leading some people during the night to think it is actually morning. When this solar storm happened back in 1859 the damage was very limited but if one would happen now in the age of technology we could end up in the stone age.
Scientists are actually quite worried about what would happen if we were to face a severe solar storm. Some of these storms are called X Class flares and can produce energy equal to a billion hydrogen bombs. If you are worried about a pole shift and you wonder how will it affect humanity then check out my recent article Pole shift effects on humans ( Top 16 Effects ).
What is a Coronal Mass Ejection
A Coronal Mass Ejection is basically the sun ejecting magnetized plasma into space, these usually do take a few days to reach Earth but these also can do a lot of harm. Around the world, several observatories are observing the sun’s activity to warn us about any potential Coronal Mass Ejection. According to the experts when it hit NASA’s ACE satellite, located about 1 million miles above us, we will have just under an hour to prepare for a geomagnetic storm.
These storms have knocked down the grid in the past, as one did in Quebec in March 1989 but this was less powerful than in the case of the Carrington Event. Experts say if another solar storm as big as the Carrington Event would hit the earth the entire planet could lose power.
What to expect if a solar storm hits today
For starters, we would have no lights and everybody knows how much trouble that can cause during the evening, it could get cold for those who rely on electricity for heating, limited communications, and the worst of them would be the sewage system not functioning. Just imagine a scenario where all communications break down and career criminals take over the streets.
Something similar had happened in Quebec back in 1998 where millions of people lost power there was chaos but for the most part, Canadians came together to help each other out. This will probably happen in a worldwide blackout due to a solar storm, altho things will go bad once the limited resources are gone and people have to fight to survive. Usually, solar flares cause an EMP effect, this will destroy most electrical devices, however, if you read my article Does an EMP affect batteries? ( Can they survive? ) you will learn that batteries would survive, provided they are not connected to any electrical device.
How to protect your car from solar flares
The best way to protect your car against solar flares is with conductive fabric, these come in different forms and are specifically designed to stop RF energy. Vendors will typically provide a data sheet to show how well they supposed to perform, but I found that in most cases these are highly optimistic. These conductive fabrics, in addition, to protect your car from solar flares can also protect your motorcycle, generators, and any other electrical devices which are not hooked into the power line directly.
The conductive fabrics typically can provide up to 40-50 DB of shielding which is actually quite good. There are a lot of these conductive fabrics on the market, the key is to find which works well and has all the characteristics you want. Some of these are very thin and not durable, so my advice is to go with a more rugged one that can deal with additional outside elements like rain and snow.
Remember that only a small fault or tear in these conductive fabrics could render them unusable in the case of a solar flare. Keep in mind that some of these meshes have silver and nickel in them so if you are allergic to them you should avoid these at all costs. The vast majority of cars will be affected by the EMP effect of the solar flares, although if you read my article Best bug out vehicle for EMP ( Top 26 ), you will find that there are several cars that would do fine, even if there is no additional EMP protection applied to them.
On the other hand, there are stainless steel fiber fabrics which I highly recommend. Keep in mind that these fabrics are sold by the linear foot and in some cases, you might end up sewing several of these together to make a car cover. Once you have made your car cover make sure that when using it that the cover once put on the car is actually in contact with the ground on all sides, this is very important. Also before purchasing a conductive fabric make sure that it is conductive on both sides.
Solar flare emp probability
Although solar flares are quite often usually these are smaller in scale to do any damage. The biggest solar flare in recorded history was the Carrington Event in 1859 and according to scientists a similarly large event could happen once every 500 years and as a big solar storm hit earth in 1859 some might think we are safe for another couple of hundred years, this is entirely false and one could hit any day.
Solar flare classification is A, B, C, M, X, A being the weakest one and X classification being the strongest one. The intensity factor between each category is X10, and the Carrington Event is considered an X category event.
Why do solar flares affect power grids?
Solar flares are massive blasts of charged and magnetic particles when these come in contact with an electronic device such as the power grid it creates a surge of energy by induction which in turn fries and disables the power grid. Just like in your house when you get a bigger surge of power the electricity goes down due to the inbuilt safety features, if there wouldn’t be any safety features all your electrical devices hooked into the socket would be broken.
Solar flare vs emp
There is a lot of confusion around what is the difference between a solar flare and an emp. The solar flare and the coronal mass ejection which causes the actual EMP go hand in hand, the solar flare is the first emission from the sun which will impact the planet faster than the coronal mass ejection as the coronal mass ejection travels slower than the solar flare which travels at the speed of light.
The solar flares actually cause the aurora borealis, it impacts especially airlines and other kinds of communication and navigation systems. On the other hand, the coronal mass ejections which cause the emp will affect every electronic device causing massive damage. If you are worried about civil unrest due to a solar flare then check out my recent article How to bury money ( In 7 Easy Steps ).
Altho most solar flares are not powerful enough to cause any damage there might come a day when a big one hits and you should be prepared for this scenario. You can protect your smaller electronic devices with Faraday bags and cages and you can protect your car with conductive fabric.