FACT CHECK: “Solar superstorm” in November to cause Internet blackout false

Nov. 20, 2023

CLAIM: Solar superstorm predicted to hit Earth on November 24 will wipe out the Internet.

A post from Facebook account Geroe Sht on November 17 claims that a “solar superstorm” will happen on November 25 and will wipe out the Internet for weeks or months.  Geroe Sht, who describes himself as a “Bisaya s**poster, went on to describe what a solar superstorm is.  His post instantly generated 36,000 comments and 268,000 shares.  He has announced on Sunday, November 19, that this story is fake, but has not taken down the previous post.

RATING: Misleading.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/carlopalok12/posts/756363069840522:178151018709299

FACTS:  This post is actually one of several stories circulating on the Internet about the solar superstorm. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States explained that solar superstorms do happen but they have not released any predictions as Internet posts claimed.

NASA explains that solar superstorms are caused by the sun’s coronal mass ejection (CME) colliding with Earth’s atmosphere. The risk of such a storm to occur is most likely in the next solar maximum – the peak of the Sun’s 11-year activity cycle, which may be bound to happen in 2025.

The strongest solar storm recorded was the Carrington Event on September 1 and 2, 1859, telegraph communications were disrupted as several telegraph wires caught fire.  Auroras were seen at night even in unusual areas like the tropical regions. 

Scientists said had this happened in this age, there would be massive blackouts as every technology relies on electricity to operate. But the chance that this may happen again in the next ten years is only 12%, according to a study made by physicist Pete Riley.

Solar storms in the past decades have caused blackouts, but there is no evidence that it will cause an Internet shutdown.

Scientists continue to develop technology and AI to help in studying solar storms and even anticipate when it will strike.



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