The Crossroads of the Aether
Did the Carrington Event aka Great Solar Flare of 1859 kick off an age of SteamPunk and would another do the same? Some background for those who have not heard about the historic event:
In 1859 the most advanced technology of the day, rail roads and telegraphs, recorded the majority of the event. Arguably, the intensity of this event demonstrated how much farther telegraphs could advance to the investing skeptics.
Today's technology would be devastated by such a powerful event. The difference between which side of the earth is facing the sun at the peak impact would rewrite future history at the very least. (Asia vs Europe vs America)
But wait, there's more! Earth's megnetosphere appears to be weakening and migrating at an accelerating rate. In other words, Earth is becoming increasingly vulnerable to solar flares and other space weather.
A NASA solar flare warning was posted today: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/significant-flare-surges-off-th...
Some satellites are more vulnerable to solar storms than others due to how close their orbits are and how much shielding they receive from the Earth's magnetosphere.
These solar flares sometimes have an effect on the Aurora too: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast
Some "good news" is that the Sun offers protection similar to the magnetosphere shielding us from some potentially dangerous forces from beyond our solar system. Voyager 1's recent crossing of this field is a reminder of its existence and hopefully will send data that will help us prepare for interstellar travel.
Due to the recent intense solar flares strong aurora displays are being forecast for Friday & Saturday nights (9/12-13/14).
Apparently there is a Walking Dead -like TV series coming out shortly called the Carrington Event about basically this happening today. We do not have TV so it might be a while before we see this series.
Some nice videos here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora
An interesting space weather site: http://spaceweather.com/
3/11/15 strong solar flare reported: http://news.yahoo.com/sun-unleashes-1st-monster-solar-flare-2015-ph... This one seems to have just caused HF interruptions.
We should see some good northern lights Friday the 13th: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/Alaska/2015/03/13