Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Watch out...

Solar flares are starting up - last time they knocked out the power grid of Montreal's system. Maybe some nice Aurora Borealis for us southerners, though...


  1. This footage was taken yesterday, That row of sunspots are sending a massive solar wind in our direction which should arrive some time tomorrow. Get posting while you still have the chance! The activity is said to peak in around 2013.

  2. In a Scottish accent
    " we're doooooommmmmmmeeeeeeed!"

  3. Don't worry, John - the world is going to end in 2012, so I'm told, so we won't have to worry about the peak of the sun-farts.

    P.S. - If you sit in front of the screen and watch it about 3 times, you can top up your tan.

  4. Heavens Tom I am having enough trouble posting without this new worry.

  5. When did that happen in Montreal.?

    I have only see the Northern Lights once although people tell me that our cottage is on the perfect part of the lake to see them.

  6. The world may be going to end for you in 2012, but I've ordered a tin-foil suit, which I'm told (by someone at tin-foil will ensure my safety. Do you think I need the matching hat as well; they cost extra.

  7. Below is taken from the Australian Space centre report, Raz:

    On March 13th, 1989 a huge solar induced magnetic storm played havoc with the ionosphere, and the earth's magnetic field. This storm, the second largest storm experienced in the past 50 years, totally shut down Hydro-Quebec, the power grid servicing Canada's Quebec province.

    Montreal, March 15, 1989

    Hydro-Quebec confirms that the March 13 blackout was caused by the strongest magnetic storm ever recorded since the 735-kV power system was commissioned. At 2:45 a.m., the storm, which resulted from a solar flare, tripped five lines from James Bay and caused a generation loss of 9,450 MW. With a load of some 21,350 MW at that moment, the system was unable to withstand this sudden loss and collapsed within seconds, thereby causing further loss of generation from Churchill Falls and Mania-Outardes.

    Magnetic storms affect power system behaviour, mainly in that they cause transformer saturation, which reduces or distorts voltage. Hydro-Quebec's long lines and static compensators make the system particularly sensitive to such natural phenomena. For example, analysing the events that caused the March 13 blackout, the utility's experts noted a coincidence between the exceptional intensity of the magnetic storm and the tripping of several static compensators, especially at Chibougamau and La Verendrye substations. Immediately after this loss, records show voltage oscillations and power-swings increasing until the the lines from James Bay were lost. Within seconds, the whole grid was out of service.

    The system-wide blackout resulted in a loss of some 19,400 MW in Quebec and 1,325 MW of exports. An additional load of 625 MW was also being exported from generating stations isolated from the Hydro-Quebec system.

    Service restoration took more than nine hours. This can be explained by the fact that some of the essential equipment, particularly on the James Bay transmission network, was made unavailable by the blackout. Generation from isolated stations normally intended for export was repatriated to meet Quebec's needs and the utility purchased electricity from Ontario, New Brunswick and the Alcan and McLaren Systems.

    By noon, the entire generating and transmission system was back in service, although 17 percent of Quebec customers were still without electricity. In fact, several distribution-system failures occurred because of the high demand typical of Monday mornings, combined with the jump in heating load after several hours without power.