For most of my life I thought of the sun as just a big ball of fire in the sky, warming our bodies, growing plants, and sometimes giving me sunburn.
Then one day in January, 2012, when I was discussing the mysterious and abrupt comings-and-goings of my physical, mental and psychological ailments with a new friend, she conveyed information about solar flares with me. She told me about her naturopath, who tracks solar flares for her patients and their illnesses.
I was fascinated and curious. I located an internet site called SpaceWeather, which tracks these mysterious bursts of energy from our local star. That website keeps a daily log on sunspots, solar flares and something called Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s). I have been going to SpaceWeather every day, correlating how I was feeling versus what the sun was doing.
Thus I have been following solar activity daily since the beginning of Feb, 2012. Although I haven’t kept a written record, when solar activity was high, I had many unexplained symptoms (see list below) within 18 – 24 hours of the blast leaving the sun, and the effects lasted 1 – 4 days, depending on the magnitude of the CME. Some of the symptoms were so severe I went to my doctor, who performed tests, but revealed nothing wrong with me. The Carlini Institute for Therapy, Research and Transpersonal Education reports inconclusive doctor visits as well (see list of complaints below).
I also noticed that when the sun is quiet, meaning less sunspot activity, fewer flares or CME’s, I feel well, happy, and energetic, without much physical, mental or psychological symptoms.
When I checked with my friends, they reported symptoms in quite a similar way and with comparable timing. Because of that, I started posting solar alerts on my Facebook page. A number of Facebook friends have thanked me for doing so and for educating them about solar weather effects.
Once in awhile (maybe 10% of the time) when the earth was subjected to flares or CME’s, I didn’t have any noticeable effects. This confused me. Then as I was watching a documentary about the sun produced by PBS / NOVA [Secrets of the Sun] a scientist gave a suitable explanation for the difference. The earth is magnetically charged (positive to negative) and so is a CME. If the CME hits the earth with a particular charge, let’s say positive, and hits the positive field of the sun, the effect is nil, just as 2 magnets would repel each other if similarly placed together. And the opposite is true. When the CME’s magnetic charge is the opposite to that of the earth, then we feel strong effects.
To briefly explain the working of the sun – our star consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields.
“The sun has 11-year cycles of sunspots and intense magnetic storms followed by predictable periods of quiet. We are now into a new cycle that is expected to be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the previous one according to Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.” — Carlini Institute
“The key to the mystery [of the cycles], Dikpati realized years ago, is a conveyor belt on the sun. “The sun’s conveyor belt is a current of electrically-conducting gas. It flows in a loop from the sun’s equator to the poles and back again. Just as the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt controls weather on Earth, this solar conveyor belt controls weather on the sun. Specifically, it controls the sunspot cycle.” —– Universe Today
The sun is a complex celestial body consisting of layers of gas. Energy arises from the deepest layer, until it materializes on the surface, energy the equivalent of 1 trillion megaton bombs every second! Sun spots are an active bubbling stew of newly-arrived radiation on the sun’s surface, consisting of protons, x-rays, gamma waves, radio waves, and geo-magnetic fields. This radiation is then taken up by the Conveyer Belt. Energy is constantly flowing out of the sun into space as solar wind, buffeting earth and the planets in our solar system. Often it erupts in the form of solar flares. Less often it bursts free in the form of a CME (see image at top). A CME is categorized by C-class, M-class and X-class.
“A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields (usually above sunspots) is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays. Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.” — spaceweather
Depending on the direction the sun is facing, away from earth or towards earth, a CME may harmlessly explode into space, not affecting earth. Or it can send its torrent of plasma towards earth at enormous speed, arriving hours later. What the atmospheric scientists tell us is that the bigger and/or more active the sunspot, the more likely we are to have major solar flares or higher class CME’s.
Sometimes aurora borealis (northern lights) are not due to an explosion from the sun, but rather “a fluctuation in the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). On July 9, 2012, the IMF near Earth tipped south, opening our planet’s magnetosphere.” ** The effects are the same, however. Solar wind poured in through the opening and ignited the northern lights in Canada and the South Pole. spaceweather July 11, 2012
From what I’ve researched, the magnetosphere has weakened substantially in the last decade or so. The magnetosphere shields us from a substantial amount of the sun’s influence and could mean a greater impact from the sun on us in the future.
The Sun spews billions of tons of plasma into space periodically – containing x-rays, gamma rays and other geo-magnetic waves of energy. And those energies affect us on earth in ways that are shocking.
Traditional scientists report that solar flares and CME’s are only capable of affecting satellites, astronauts in space, the electric grid, cell phones, microwaves and other electronic instruments. They collectively believe that solar flares DO NOT affect human beings, animals, or influence natural phenomenon like earthquakes and volcanic activity, being protected by the Interplanetary Magnetic Field.
I disagree, at least about humans on earth. The Carlini Institute for Therapy, Research and Transpersonal Education, which has been studying these solar flare effects on humans for years, has an extensive list of reported effects:
“Solar flares affect the Central Nervous System (stomach lining), all brain activity (including equilibrium), along with human behavior and all psycho-physiological (mental-emotional- physical) response. Solar flares can cause us to be nervous, anxiousness, worrisome, jittery, dizzy, shaky, irritable, lethargic, exhausted, have short term memory problems, feel nauseous, queasy, and to have prolonged head pressure and headaches…migraines; the inability to think straight; losing words in the middle of a thought; ringing in the ears; exhaustion…stomach aches; indigestion; loss of appetite or wanting to eat incessantly; heart palpitations; irregular heartbeats; vertigo; face going red…heat sensations felt in the body…feeling cold for no reason…dreams that are different from…[normal]…dreams.” — © Heather Carlini, 2010, 2011, 2012
In fact, it is because of my personal exploration that I am writing this article at all. I muddle along as a non-scientific person, yet with a mission to inform you of what I have discovered. According to most of the scientists I have read or heard, we are expected to have 30% – 50% more solar activity at least for this current solar cycle. I notice that since Sept, 2011, I am having symptoms more often and more intensely. I also notice that even when a CME “misses” earth and storms out into space, I still get symptoms. I have no explanation for that, except perhaps I am overly sensitive. Or perhaps scientists don’t yet fully understand the sun’s activities. No wonder ancient people credited the sun as a god.
What does higher solar activity mean for us here on earth in the future? We’ll see.
Meanwhile, we can keep track and determine if there is a correlation, whether or not our many incongruous symptoms are based on the activity of our nearest sun.
UPDATE: July 12, 2012 Sunspot released x 1.4 class solar flare
Lauren O. Thyme with Sue Stein July 10, 2012 (see me on FACEBOOK)
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ALONG THE NILE (autographed)