Back in 2003 - on the 4th of November, there was an enormous X-flare. A solar flare is a huge burst of energy from the sun. Magnetic energy builds up, and sometimes explodes outward from the sun's surface. Radiation is emitted - everything from radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays. There are different size designations, depending on how big the eruption was. Here is how they are explained at spaceweather.com:
A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields (usually above sunspots) is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays.
Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.Now, on November 4, 2003, Sunspot 486 was at the very, very right edge of the sun - about to rotate completely out of view. (Image from Spaceweather.com)
To our view, it had been traveling across the surface of the sun since October 23, 2003. It released an X-5 flare as it came into view on the far left edge.That was the 3rd X-flare since October 19. The first two had come from Sunspot 484. Below, you can see them both (Image from Spaceweather.com, Credit: Bob Sandy of Roanoke County, Virginia):
This is what Spaceweather.com had to say about Sunspots 484 and 486 on October 24, 2003:
Astronomers can't remember the last time this happened: two Jupiter-sized sunspots crossing the face of the sun at the same time. Sunspots 484 and 486 are intense sources of solar activity (more on this below) and big enough to see with the unaided eye--but never look directly at the sun. Use safe solar observing methods instead.
OK - so on October 24, 2003, we had had three X-flares from two enormous sunspots. On October 26, each spot released an X-1 flare. Now we're up to five. On October 28, 486 released an X-17 solar flare. That is huge - lots of energy, lots of radiation. Now we're up to six. On October 29, 486 released an X-11 flare, and the geomagnetic storm on earth from the previous flares is called 'severe.' Now we're at seven. On October 30, 486 released an X-10 flare. Now we're at eight - and these flares are considered huge. On November 1, this is what Spaceweather had to say:
SUNSPOT 486: The source of all this solar activity is giant sunspot 486. This week it unleashed two of the most powerful solar flares ever recorded and hurled massive CMEs toward Earth. More such eruptions are possible in the days ahead.On November 2, 486 released an X-8 flare. Now we're at nine. On November 3, 486 released an X-3 flare. Now we're at ten X-level flares. You need to understand how unheard of that is.
On November 4, 2003, that same sunspot, 486, released a flare so large that it couldn't be properly measured. It literally saturated their measuring instruments for eleven minutes. This was the eleventh X-level flare, and it saturated the instruments for eleven minutes. After some controversy in trying to determine what level it had been, some scientists still insist it had to have been an X-45 or even X-48. (some unwilling to go any higher than X-28) As you can see in my first picture, this happened at the last moment before 486 rotated out of view.
Had that flare been earth-directed, it would have done more than knock out our electric grid for who knows how long. It would have fried everything on that side of the earth that wasn't in a protected location. If that's not a "sign in the sun," (Luke 21:25) I don't know what is. It doesn't stop there, though. The flare happened on November 4, 2003 at 1950 Universal Time. That puts it at 9:50 p.m. in Jerusalem, making the date the 10th of Cheshvan, the eighth month. Does that date ring a bell?
The Great FloodGenesis 7:7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Remember, this was before God changed the calendar and made Nisan the first month. So, what Genesis is calling the second month is what is now considered (biblically) the eighth month. That means that the day God told Noah to come into the ark because the world-ending flood was going to start in seven days was the 10th of Cheshvan. Whoa.
So, absolutely, that flare was a sign from God. How in the world could it not be? It was the eleventh X-flare and saturated the instruments for eleven minutes (11 being the biblical number for judgment, which I will defend if anyone wants that). And, if that wasn't clear enough, it happened on the 10th of Cheshvan, the same day that God warned Noah that He was going to destroy the world in seven days.
So, obviously, the world didn't end in 2010. So, what did the sign mean? I may be wrong, but I think I know what it was pointing to. So, stay tuned for tomorrow's post.
If you'd like to read the day-by-day play of all this, go to Spaceweather.com and run through the archives.
Here is also an article regarding the official upgrade in size (which doesn't appear on the archives):
BBC News - Sun's massive explosion upgraded