Signs in the Sun

September 19, 2005
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor

An ongoing series of seven major solar flares, continue to astonish astronomers while affecting communications here on earth.

The latest round of activity is being spawned by a large 'sunspot' named Sunspot 798.

A 'sunspot' is a cooler and darker region of pent-up magnetic activity. When a sunspot releases its stored up energy, it 'overflows' like a bottle of shaken up champagne.

Until now, the sunspot activity has been on the other side of the sun, and is just now rotating into view. That means that previous flares were directed sideways, rather than directly at Planet Earth.

In coming days, say scientists, the sunspots will be pointed right at us, and will begin to interfere with communication signals like cell phones, satellites and radio waves.

It takes about eight minutes from the time of a solar flare until the radiation begins to bathe the earth. If the magnetic field of a storm is oriented opposite to our planet's protective magnetic field, gaps are created and radiation leaks to the planet's surface, potentially threatening astronauts aboard the International Space Station, sometimes shorting out satellites, and even causing terrestrial power grids to trip.

Solar activity is at "very high levels," according to NOAA's Space Environment Center (SEC).

The SEC has reported that agencies have experienced problems with fluctuations in their electric power systems due to the severe levels of geomagnetic activity.

Spacecraft operations, high-frequency communications, and navigation systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation of satellites "are also experiencing impacts due to the strong to severe solar activity."

There have been seven major flares in recent days, including a tremendous X-17 eruption Wednesday. An event Friday evening was an X-6. On Saturday, an X-1 and an X-2 erupted. Even an X-1 can cause severe disruptions.

The largest flare in modern times was recorded in November 2003 and was estimated to be an X-40. It, too, was on the limb of the Sun and so its full impact was not felt on Earth.

That flare was part of an unprecedented series of 10 major flares within two weeks; at least one Earth-orbiting satellite was disabled and one instrument aboard a Mars-orbiting craft was knocked offline.

This week's series is the most impressive since then.

Each storm is different, and often solar activity goes unnoticed on Earth, depending on whether a storm hits us square or makes a glancing blow and what the magnetic orientation is.

If enough storms erupt, the odds go up that there will be effects here. And the likelihood of Earth taking one directly on the chin goes up with each passing day as the sunspot takes aim.

The Sun is currently at a low point in its 11-year cycle of activity. Astronomers have been observing and charting changes in solar activity since 1610 and been charting changes in the sun's magnetic field every 11 years since 1755.

The peaks in these cycles are called "solar maximum" periods.

Solar flares, one type of "space weather" associated with solar maximums, release tremendous amounts of energy, equivalent to a million hundred-megaton nuclear explosions. The result is a barrage of charged particles hurling toward Earth.

During the last maximum in 1989, a power surge triggered by solar energy damaged transformers of the Hydro-Quebec power system, leaving 6 million people in Canada and the northeast United States without power for more than nine hours. The event also knocked satellites out of orbit and disrupted radio communications.

The current 11-year cycle, the 23rd to have been measured by modern scientists, is called Solar Cycle #23.

Solar Cycle #23 is an unprecedented historical anomaly. A solar activity chart located at graphs the upper predicted thresholds and the lower predicted thresholds of solar activity based on previous cycles.

Predicted thresholds ranged between 25 and 40 sunspot incidents. By the midpoint in 2000, the number of solar events peaked about 400% above normal.

Note from the chart that from mid-1994 through mid-1998 -- during the last solar MAXIMUM -- sunspot activity was minimal, with almost no activity at all through 1997.

The solar maximum period peaked in 2000, but instead of subsiding, double-peaked again in 2002.

Sunspots are the most visible sign of those complex magnetic fields -- but not the only one. Another sign is solar radio emissions, which come from hot gas trapped in magnetic loops.

"The radio Sun is even brighter now than it was in 2000, David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, said in an interview on NASA's website. By the radio standard, this second peak is larger than the first, noted NASA.

What is particularly fascinating is what is emerging as a pattern of unusual solar activity, dating to about 1948, as noted by the American Institute of Physics in its bulletin number 658 published in 2003 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein, and James Riordon.

They noted; "In the case of sunspots, the direct counting goes back to Galileo's time, around 1610. But earlier sunspot activity can be deduced from beryllium-10 traces in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores."

Using this approach, scientists at the University of Oulu in Finland and the Max Planck Institute in Katlenburg-Lindau in Germany have reconstructed the sunspot count back to the year 850.

They reached the stunning conclusion that, over the whole 1150 year record available, the sun has been most magnetically active (greatest number of sunspots) over the past six decades than at anytime in more than a thousand years.

Why is this important? Taken together with other signs from nature, one gets the image of a planet in upheaval.

The Asian tsunami was triggered by an undersea earthquake of such force that it shook the whole planet like a tuning fork, tipping it slightly on its axis and making microscopic changes in the fabric of time. The island of Sumatra was moved hundreds of yards from its original position by the quake.

Environmental scientists are warning of both catastrophic global warming and the approach of a new Ice Age.

Everything from man-made greenhouse gases to changes in the earth's magnetic field to cow flatulence is being blamed for the rapidly changing environment, but the only thing everybody can agree on is that the environment is rapidly changing.

Nine of the past eleven Atlantic hurricane seasons have been above normal, both in frequency and intensity of the storms.

This year's Hurricane Katrina was the 4th most powerful storm to ever strike the United States and arguably was the single most destructive storm in history. It is the only storm on record to kill a major US city.

The last ten years have also been among the most destructive periods for flooding, world-wide, in history. Flooding has claimed thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property from the Mississippi Valley to Bangladesh and all points in between.

More disasters - natural and non-natural - were reported for 2000 than in any year over the last decade. Natural disasters killed a reported 665,598 people from 1991-2000.

On average, natural disasters -- not man-made ones -- accounted for 88 per cent of all deaths from disasters over the last decade, say statisticians.

While the number of geophysical disasters has remained fairly steady, the number of hydro-meteorological disasters since 1996 has more than doubled.

During the past decade over 90 per cent of those killed by natural disasters lost their lives in hydro-meteorological events such as droughts, windstorms and floods.

While earthquakes accounted for 30 per cent of estimated damage, they killed just 9 per cent of all those killed by natural disasters. \Meanwhile, famine killed 42 per cent, but accounted for just 4 per cent of damage, over the past decade, according to figures provided by the Red Cross.

The Munich Insurance Group reported on its website that "in 1999 at least 70,000 people were killed by natural catastrophes and perhaps even as many as 100,000." It notes somberly, "this is the highest figure since 1991. . . Earthquakes in August and November claimed more than 20,000 lives in Turkey. Cyclone 05 B, which raged in the Bay of Bengal at the end of October, killed as many as 30,000 in Orissa (India). The death toll in Venezuela probably exceeded 30,000 as a result of debris avalanches and mudslides following torrential rain."

Taken together, as noted, we have a picture of a planet in flux, drifting in a solar system in flux, with attending catastrophes like earthquakes, famines, wars, pestilences and flooding on an unprecedented scale.

Most are part of a cycle that is traceable back to the late 1940's.

Let's take another look at the Olivet Discourse with new eyes, from a new perspective, and armed with this new information, to see how it stacks up.

Two thousand years ago, "as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, His disciples came unto Him 'privately'," say the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13), with Mark's Gospel identifying Peter, James, John and Andrew as being among His questioners.

Before moving on take note of two things;

First, Jesus was speaking with His closest confidantes. Secondly, they were not Christians, but Jews. The Church had not yet been born at Pentecost. The perspective, therefore, is that of Israel, specifically, the view from the Mount of Olives.

Jesus spoke of "wars and commotions" wherein; "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:9-11)

>From our various vantage points around the globe, we HEAR of ethnic wars, but Israel has spent its entire existence fighting exactly that. 'Ethnic' wars against Arabs in general, together with specific wars against literal Arab kingdoms.

Jesus said that, "BEFORE all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My Name's sake." (Luke 21:12)

Israel's rebirth was a direct result of the Nazi Holocaust during which Jews were exterminated in their millions as 'Christ-killers' by largely Catholic Europe.

The prophetic pattern outlined for the last days then shifts from man-made disasters to natural disasters;

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring."

Weigh the Lord's prophecy to the scientific warnings of shifting weather patterns, increased flooding, sunspots, unprecedented hurricane activity, and the literally billions of dollars being spent to study the existential threats facing the planet, from a coming global Ice Age to the possibility of a catastrophic meteor strike.

"Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:26)

Think this through. Has there ever been a time -- in all recorded history -- when that statement has been more generally true than the present generation?

Was there ever a time in all recorded history when so MANY people were aware of the threat as there are now?

Think of some time -- in all recorded history -- when it would be accurate to describe the planetary mood as one in which 'men's hearts' could be described as 'failing them for fear' -- not as a result of some temporary man-made event, such as World War II, but out of fear of 'what is coming ON THE EARTH" -- as a direct result of 'the powers of heaven [being] shaken' in such a direct and obvious way?

If you can, please email me, as I cannot. Now read the next verse, in the Lord's Own Words, and connect the dots.

First we have the climactic upheaval, followed by fears of existential threats from terrestrial and extraterrestrial threats.

Jesus laid out the scenario in chronological order, and historical hindsight enables us to track the progression, from its convergence point in history with the rebirth of Israel to the present.

(That is where we sit on the future/historical curve at this moment.)

"And THEN shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:27) First, the natural upheaval, and THEN, the Lord's visible Return.

(That puts His invisible return in the air for the Church even closer)

Jesus then turns His attention from future events to explain, in context, what it all means, from the perspective of the generation that would witness all these things . . .

"And when these things BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28)

Finally, we have the Lord's ironclad promise: "Verily I say unto you, THIS generation shall NOT PASS AWAY, till ALL be fulfilled." (Luke 21:32)

(Excerpted from the Omega Letter Daily Intelligence Digest, Volume 48, Issue 12)

Jack Kinsella