In the past the sun has been revered as a god and an idol. During the middle ages and into the renaissance it moved from orbiting our plant to being the center of the Earth’s orbit. For many Christians the sun is still seen as divine, or rather, as a sign or symbol of God’s grace and power. From a scientific perspective the sun is the source of nearly all of the energy that flows within the life on Earth and it is the origin of our weather patterns and the seasons. The sun is central to our solar system, our existence, and our future.
Scientists have shown that solar storm activity peaks every 11 years and we should enter the next high point sometime around 2012. Past solar storms have had devastating effects on the Earth and society. It is believed that an 1859 solar storm disrupted telegraph lines and caused fires throughout Europe and North America. In 1989 the power grid was knocked out in Quebec, Canada, and in 2003 2 satellites and a Martian probe’s systems were affected by solar activity.
Now our modern technology is more sensitive, far more wide spread, and central to our every day life and a severe solar storm could cause cataclysmic destruction across the world. One powerful storm could affect water, communication, refrigeration, and refueling systems just to name a few essentials to our way of life. While I am not a believer in a prophesied Armageddon in 2012 I do believe that we should be cautious and aware of the dangers that accompany our modern society. It will take money and research to begin to understand and eventually predict space weather patterns, but this is something we must be more aware of.
In the end we would not be here without the sun. It is essential to so many parts of our world and our existence, but as with many parts of the natural world we must treat it with the respect and awe that it deserves. In order for our balanced world to exist we must often weather extremes in our environment. We have survived these trials in the past and we will weather them in the future, but we must be prepared for them. Part of being prepared for these storms is limiting our dependence on our technology, and reaffirming local human connections in our communities. These connections are essential to our future as they were to our past and in the end they are more dependable and reliant than all the technology in the world