Fake: 8 Days of Darkness

Have you seen a graphic floating around the internet which claims there will be 8 days of darkness in June 2016? It's fake.

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8 Days of Darkness

The bogus graphic suggests that NASA “confirmed” this shocking news, and that a predicted solar storm will plunge the earth into eight full days of darkness. The problem is that we can’t actually predict solar storms – and even a very powerful event still won’t make the entire earth go dark.

Sure, a solar storm could kill your electricity which would make areas at night a bit darker, but the entire earth can’t be dark at the same time because half of it will still be facing the sun!

So what would happen if a massive solar storm hit the earth? Gizmodo investigated this question, and concluded:

It’s hard to overstate just how much this would uproot our lives. The lights would of course go out, as would the internet, and any device that draws current from the wall. In places with electronically-controlled municipal water supplies — like most modern cities — toilets and sewage treatment systems would stop working. Heating and air conditioning would fail. Perishable food and medication would be lost. ATMs would be useless. Gas pumps would go offline. And so forth.

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GPS technology would also be knocked out.

So yes, we’d be in trouble if a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) hit the earth, but we still wouldn’t be in total darkness for 8 days because that is just an impossibility.

Another problem with the graphic is that it claims NASA “confirmed” this event will happen in June. We can’t predict solar flares or solar storms, and we may get about a 30 minute heads-up, if we’re lucky. Gizmodo notes, “…it’ll first hit NASA’s ACE satellite, located at the L1 Lagrange point roughly a million miles in front of the Earth. If that happens, we’ve got anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before a cloud of plasma rains down from above, interacting with our planet’s magnetosphere and triggering a geomagnetic storm.”

In the past 4 years, I’ve written about similar “days of darkness” memes around the internet. First it was 3 days in 2012, then 6, then 15.

If NASA gets word of a solar storm, you’ll hear about it minutes before it hits. If that.