The Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant program released projects approved for state taxpayer funding through mid-November and more than a dozen Delaware County projects are in line for over $47 million.
The RACP is administered by the state Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. Some of the projects are still in the planning phases while others are in pre-construction or construction.
RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, with the goal of having a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and to generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues or other measures of economic activity.
RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.
One of the noteworthy awards will be $2 million for the Upper Darby Community Center.
Upper Darby Mayor Barbarann Keffer said the grant funds for the Community Center will assist the construction costs for the center, which she called the first of its kind in the township, as well as the first LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certified building in Upper Darby.
The center will be located at 7000 Walnut St., where demolition has been completed and construction is slated to begin in 2023. Upper Darby has already received other competitive RACP awards in addition to $1 million in federal Community Project Funding for a green roof secured through the office of U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon.
Township officials said the combination of state grant programs and federal funding the township has been able to leverage grant opportunities and hopes to achieve $11 million in investment with only $3 million in local dollars used.
According to the application, it will include construction work to the foundations, framing, millwork, steel work, interior finishes and sitework. Additionally, demolition; stormwater management improvements; hazardous material abatement; utilities; concrete slab, glass; and site remediation will be addressed.
“Community centers offer so many opportunities for neighbors to interact and learn,” said state Sen. Tim Kearney. “Upper Darby Township is a multicultural hub, and I believe this facility will create an atmosphere where neighbors can foster and cultivate relationships with one another. I am happy that I was able to advocate for funding to support this project. Initiatives like this will make the 26th District an even more dynamic space for residents and visitors.”
“Community centers like the Upper Darby Community Center, provide a safe place for neighbors to gather,” said Rep. Gina H. Curry, D-Delaware. “They are proven to help reduce violence and increase community engagement. I am pleased to have partnered with Upper Darby Township and our community to help secure this vital funding and bring this exciting project to fruition. I look forward to continuing to find ways the commonwealth can invest in our community.”
The Sun Center Studios Corp. was awarded the largest grant in the county $10 million, one of only five in the state to receive that level of funding for 2022.
That grant will go for construction of state-of-the-art sound stages and production support office spaces and workshops to create an East Coast production hub for major film and television studios.
In addition, there will be site improvements such as utility connections and upgrades; stormwater management; security; landscaping; hardscaping; excavating; parking, surface and below grade, related to the new soundstages and the overall integrated master plan for the studio and entertainment campus facility.
• Among the other projects receiving funding in Delaware County include Aldan Borough which received $1 million for a borough police administrative building expansion.
The project will expand the existing building, enhance the entrance lobby, and include specific site improvements consisting of expansion of the existing administration/police parking area as well as grading, erosion control, stormwater management, utilities, lighting and landscaping.
• ACCESS Community Center 2 received a $850,000 funding award for a complete, ground-up construction of a community center planned for West Seventh and Booth Streets in Chester. Ground was broken for that project in December 2021 and is the brainchild of Jack Surgent, a Villanova University graduate and CPA, who has created a nonprofit organization to build the $3 million facility, which he hopes will provide a safe place for residents to enjoy.
According to the application brief, RACP funds will focus primarily on construction costs such as earthwork, site utilities, site improvements, steel framing, HVAC installation, handicap accessible features, and other various requirements for the complete buildout and stabilization of the Phase 2 of the redevelopment project. Phase 2 will consist of the complete buildout of the Community Center’s gymnasium, as well as a full park, fencing the property, and a splash park.
The grand opening was held in October.
• The Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia received $750,000 to build a day-warming center at 107 Long Lane in Upper Darby for anyone needing services and housing help as well as be a night shelter for at least 30 individuals.
The project site is a three-story building that includes a full renovation to provide a day-use community area and offices on the first floor, sleeping spaces on the second and third floors. The renovation includes new heating, air conditioning, electrical and fire alarm infrastructure as well as new interiors and finishes. New bathrooms will be provided on every floor. The existing elevator will be improved to meet code.
• Delaware County Community College’s Skilled Trades Training Center Southeast Campus at the former Prendergast High School in Upper Darby received $3 million. That project, which was detailed in the Dec. 1, 2022 Daily Times, will establish a workforce-focused $66.5 million campus to provide a region-tailored education and training ecosystem for 2,000 students. It will likely be open in 2025.
• Eastern University in Radnor received $1 million for renovations of athletic facilities. The project scope includes gymnasium additions and renovations, site work, a vehicular bridge, pedestrian walkway and an internal drive connection to athletes.
• Ellis Phase II Wood Timber Office Building in Newtown Township received $1 million in funding to construct the precast parking garage for the new mass timber office building the Ellis Town Center.
• Elwyn Davidson School Transition Program in Middletown received $750,000 to renovate the interior and exterior of the Kevin Duggan Center.
The funding will focus on exterior improvements such as new roofing, windows, doors, and an entrance canopy, as well as extensive interior renovation to upgrade bathroom facilities for ADA compliance, installation of classroom instructional space, and installation of several training program spaces to include an on-campus cafe, school store, independent and supported living space, therapy-services space and administrative-program offices.
• Interboro High School additions and renovations will receive $4 million for replacement of the existing infrastructure including: mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; along with upgrading and repairing the building envelope which planners say will significantly increase energy efficiency.
Funds will help reconfigure existing spaces and construct new core spaces to accommodate increased community use. Security Improvements include an expanded administration offices area with secure entry and cafeteria relocation. The project also includes roof replacement of a failing roof and repairs to the building envelope and window replacement.
The total cost of the proposed project, including construction contingency costs and soft costs, is not to exceed $70.2 million to be paid from future bond issuance according to the district.
• Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital-Medical Science building expansion will receive $605,000 for an ADA ramp and infusion center renovation.
According to the description, the expansion will move into an adjacent office area to add additional bays and a private room. Other spaces include a second patient toilet room; staff toilet; staff lounge; and relocates the soiled holding room. A new ADA compliant accessible ramp will allow wheelchair access into the existing ground floor entrance of the Medical Science Building.
• Neumann University was awarded $1 million toward a hockey rink.
The application states a newly constructed hockey rink will provide economic growth and development for Neumann University and for the greater Delaware County Area. Currently, youth, collegiate, and adult ice hockey, sled hockey, and ice-skating programs are limited by rink availability.
A conceptual design for the project outlines a 94,000 square foot arena, which includes two floors and two ice rinks. Additionally, the design incorporates a large lobby area, 6-8 locker rooms, meeting and classroom spaces, a concessions area, and 1,050 for spectator seating. A new parking area and pedestrian walkways will also be constructed.
• Upper Darby School District will receive $3 million for its new 166,000-square-foot middle school construction in Clifton Heights. The total cost for that project will be over $70 million and include a dedicated parking lot, full-size competition football field, baseball field, little league field, softball field, playground, and walking trail along the perimeter. The new middle school will provide an innovative new learning environment. A core programmatic goal is to introduce a series of flexible and technology-rich spaces to enable the district’s evolving curriculum, the district said.
“We are excited about the approval of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and the potential impact of this funding on our school districts’ comprehensive facilities improvement plan,” said Dr. Daniel McGarry, superintendent. “I know Representative Zabel, Representative Curry, and Senator Kearney helped to secure this funding for the district. The potential $3 million dollars in RACP funding will help the district move forward with the much-needed Clifton Heights Middle School Project, which will provide a new, modern middle school for our students and help to ease overcrowding in our middle schools.”
• The Philadelphia Union received a $4 million grant for its new $55 million WSFS Bank Sportsplex Keystone Sports and Entertainment facility next to Subaru Stadium in Chester.
It will include outdoor fields, including three full size fields, three full sized turf fields, and a youth grass field all with outdoor lighting; a fieldhouse with full size, multi-purpose turf field with lobby and cafe; academy operations: mixed-use space that will include locker rooms, offices, and leasing space; two full-sized basketball courts: basketball and volleyball programs as well as other indoor activities such as pickleball, futsal and field hockey; and a performance center: performance strength and conditioning training area and sprinting track. It requires extensive site work, concrete, masonry, and steel work.
• Riddle Hospital Emergency Department and ICU expansion will receive $6 million, which is part of an over $300 million expansion going on at the hospital.
The Emergency Department renovation will increase the waiting room capacity and Excellerate patient and visitor observation. A new triage space composed of two bays will be created in the internal disposition area. It will renovate the existing staff lounge with toilet, lockers, and kitchenette, and include a control room and CT support space for staff. The ICU will be completely reconstructed and modernized with new mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure.
• Silvercare Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Chester will receive a $1.5 million grant. The project will renovate space at the former Community Hospital of Chester. It will include selective demolition and remediation, metal stud and drywall set up, glass replacement, MEP work, water heater replacement, security system installation, sprinkler and fire alarm system upgrade, nurse call installation, painting, ceiling repair, lighting upgrade, flooring, parking lot repair, exterior lighting upgrade, commercial kitchen and laundry renovation.
• The William Penn School District will receive $7 million towards their facilities master plan for school renovations. The projects recommended include three schools Bell Avenue, East Lansdowne and W.B. Evans Elementary and the Kerr Field sports complex. The school’s windows need to be replaced, ADA ramps and elevator; upgrades to HVAC & lighting.
The Kerr Field project entails demolition of existing facilities; site work and stormwater management; new running track and markings; synthetic turf vase and drainage and carpet system; athletic field lighting; grandstands; parking lot; fencing and site improvements; baseball and softball fields reorientation; locker room and field house.
Speaking about the latest round of RACP funding, Zabel praised the funding coming into the county.
“Grant funding at this scale is a game changer for projects that were in need of additional funding and is the latest example of tax dollars being reinvested to strengthen our community,” he said. “It’s rewarding when state funds are utilized to fund projects that will directly benefit every resident of Delaware County.”
It’s no surprise that Capricorn is the first astrological sign of the calendar year. Caps are all about control and doing things their way (which is, obviously, the best way). Born between December 22 and January 19, Capicorns are also just born determined. They are on a mission, and anyone who stands in their way is best off heeding the warning of Ludacris’ 2001 banger, "Move B*tch Get Out Da Way."
"People who are so afraid to upset a Scorpio have never experienced a Capricorn’s wrath," says Valerie Mesa, astrologer and soul coach. Can confirm!
This zodiac sign is most often compared to a mountain goat, and if you're a Capricorn, this will make total sense. Capricorns do really well alone and move slow and steady to get to the top. Building something long-lasting and meaningful—whether it's in relationships or in their careers—is important to Caps, and they will fight against all odds to achieve their goals.
Meet the Experts:
Valerie Mesa is an astrologer and soul coach.
Donna Page is a certified astrologer in Atlanta, Georgia.
Narayana Montúfar is a senior astrologer at Horoscope.com and Astrology.com, and the author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power.
Jessica Lanyadoo is a humanistic astrologer and the author of Astrology for Real Relationships.
That's not all Capricorn signs have in common, though. Ahead, expert astrologers share the classic traits associated with this Sun sign (a.k.a. the sign you use when checking your horoscope), as well as its compatibility, modality, and natural element. Basically, everything you ever wanted to know about how it can impact your overall life.
When you commit to someone, whether it’s a friend or lover, you show up Every. Single. Time. The people who matter in your life know they can count on you and, TBH, it’s one of the personality traits they love most about you, says Donna Page, a certified astrologer in Atlanta. Also, having someone who will be there for you on the reg is pretty amazing, so go you, Cap!
You're also in some pretty awesome company with all these cool Capricorn celebs:
Since you go all-in when making a commitment to someone, you can be a little, let's just say, hesitant to let new people into your inner circle. (It's a pretty cool place to be, after all.) Are they really worth your undying love and devotion? They’re going to have to prove it to you first.
“Capricorn can be a zodiac sign that is highly identified with scarcity or a scarcity mindset,” explains Jessica Lanyadoo, a humanistic astrologer and the author of Astrology for Real Relationships. “That leads to being a conservationist.”
So while this can mean Capricorns are more traditional or reserved than others, it may also simply mean they’re less likely to open themselves up to the world in the way many other Sun signs do. “They can be so focused on doing the right thing and powering through that they're not always learning how to sit [with their emotions], be more receptive, and cultivate intimacy and connection that doesn’t have a purpose or motility to it,” says Lanyadoo.
They may also be less inclined to freely supply away the things that are important to them… like their time.
Like heat-of-a-thousand-burning-suns-level hate. When you care about someone, you always show up on time (unless, you know, there’s a major emergency or Beyoncé sighting on your block). Once you say you’ll be somewhere, you’re there—usually a bit early, explains Page. On the flip side, it totally pisses you off if someone doesn’t show you the same respect.
You have this amazing ability to see all the scenarios that can play out in different situations, which is a pretty cool superpower, Page says. Buuut on the other hand, that can make you worry about all the bad sh*t that could maybe-potentially-hypothetically happen. (Um, snowball much?) You have to work hard to catch yourself before getting totally carried away with the what-ifs.
Capricorns have a unique connection to winter (their season starts the day we welcome the Winter Solstice in the western hemisphere). "This relationship to the harshest season of the year gives Capricorn an incredible amount of patience and endurance," says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Horoscope.com and Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. "For this reason, Capricorns can survive the toughest conditions and sometimes carry a great amount of sacrifice."
However, there are layers here. “Capricorn is deeply impatient day to day with small things,” Lanyadoo notes, “but very patient with big picture, long-term goals.”
Speaking of long-term goals, Caps are the original go-getters. As Lanyadoo says,“[Capricorn] is an active and dynamic sign that really wants to make things happen on a material level.”
While others (hey, Geminis) are busy trying to figure out what to wear to work five minutes before they’re supposed to leave, Capricorns are already on their morning commute finalizing their lavish weekend itinerary, booking a trip six months in advance, and drafting their five, 10, and 15-year goals.
Capricorns know they will get what they want, but unlike your average hustler, they’re not in a big-time rush about it.“[They are] comfortable with big goals and big picture development happening slowly over time,” Lanyadoo explains.
8. You’re like a fine wine...you get better with age.
Capricorns are interesting signs because they keep evolving and improving over time. Just like a good old bottle of vino! Being you can be a little complicated, so don’t sweat it if it takes a little time to get it just right, says Montúfar.
"While some natives from this sign might take a long time to figure out their place in society, once they do, they stick to it and begin taking quantum leaps," Montúfar says.
Given Capricorn's more intimidating traits, who does this sign jive with? Lanyadoo notes that Caps will have an ease of connection with the other Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, and their fellow goat friends. These signs engage with the world in similar ways, which is good but...can also cause a bit of competition. That said, a bit of friction is sometimes good for a Capricorn.
In fact, chemistry requires some tension, says Lanyadoo, which means interacting with some air and fire signs. and Capricorn has "dynamic relationships" with Aries (fire sign) and Libra (air sign)."[There 's] a lot of dynamic energy there,” Lanyadoo explains. “You either want to fight them or…” I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination...
Besides Aries, Caps can vibe well with the other fire signs, Leo and Sagittarius, because, as Lanyadoo explains, “they’re vicious in a similar way.”
So, what does this all mean for a Capricorn in relationships? Well, slow and steady wins the race. For Caps, time is a big (huge!) factor when it comes to connecting with others. After all, how can you really know someone is right for you if you haven’t been through different seasons and life situations with them?
Since Caps are ruled by Saturn, they have a deeply held belief that "good things take real effort, long hours, and more than anything…mastery," says Montúfar. This rule definitely applies to relationships—both romantic and platonic. Is that new person you met really worth your time and attention? Well, they're gonna have to prove it first.
Basically, Caps are looking for a good ROI. Once you do commit though, you’re a ride or die. Good things come to those who wait!
Capricorns are a cardinal sign. Like Aries, Libra, and Cancer, they’re season changers. “We all have a visceral understanding of the difference between the seasons, and this tells us so much about the difference between the cardinal signs,” Lanyadoo says. Aries starts off spring, Cancers bring on summer, Libras welcome fall, and that leaves Capricorn with winter.
Capricorns may have that snowy, ice queen feel to them, but like the season they represent, they’re full of complexity. There is a realistic yet comforting side to Capricorns that you don’t necessarily see with the other cardinal signs. And while the shortest day of the year might fall right around the start of Capricorn season, it's also the time when we can begin to look on the bright side and watch the sun slowly but surely stick around longer and longer.
If it wasn’t clear already, Capricorn is an Earth sign. Traditionally, Earth signs are the friends you can count on to help you keep your feet on the ground. They’re known for being pragmatic, reliable, sensible, and steadfast.
All the earth signs, however, are ruled by different planets, and this is where their differences lie. While Virgo is ruled by Mercury (the planet of communication) and Taurus is ruled by Venus (the planet of diplomacy), Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. “Saturn is all about rules, reality, and responsibility,” Lanyadoo notes. That in and of itself is the short but sweet way to describe a Cap.
“Capricorns are very fixated on career,” Lanyadoo explains. “They don't do well when they feel like they're the only ones pulling their weight. Capricorns don't suffer fools lightly, and they have a hard time when they feel like they're being mismanaged.”
This is the perfect way to describe how Capricorns move about a professional environment. Think back to that one kid in school who took it upon themself to be the leader of every group project, and you probably have your first encounter with a Capricorn.
Because of their go-getter tendencies, “It's important for Capricorns to be driven by a sense of purpose,” Lanyadoo says. “In terms of what kind of career that goes for, often it's a career where they need to be coaching or building something up. There needs to be a sense of 'I have finite tasks that I need to get done, but there’s a big picture goal I 'm constantly striving for.'"
While a Capricorn may be a bit intimidating at first, they are a friend each and every person needs in their life. In fact, the world would probably work a lot more smoothly if everyone had a Capricorn in their corner at all hours of the day, or at least when anything important is taking place. They really are the G.O.A.T. (in more ways than one!).
Business: Energy Flow Acupuncture & Wellness Center
Address: 24W500 Maple Ave., Naperville
Phone/website: 630-335-1069, www.energyflowhealth.com
Owner: Amy Cohn Rieselman, 45, of Naperville
Years in business: 6
What does your business do? “My focus is on women’s health, digestion and mental health. People come to me with a variety of concerns. Oftentimes, pain is the main complaint. ... Internal health, internal medicine, digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, pregnancy. I have teens here for anxiety, ADHD, sports injuries,” said Cohn Rieselman, who’s been a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified Herbalist for 18 years.
Acupuncture can help all those? “Yes.”
How did you get into it? “I graduated with a degree in biology from Northern Illinois University. I was trying to figure out what to do. Then I encountered Chinese medicine and it lit the lightbulb. I was living in Portland, Oregon, and it’s popular on the West Coast. I had an autoimmune disease in remission. I went to a student clinic and it was amazing. I thought it was the coolest thing. ... My boyfriend at the time was very much into natural health. ... I started to use natural remedies to heal myself. It’s beautiful medicine.”
What makes it beautiful? “It’s based on the laws of nature. ... Modern, conventional medicine, you can’t say it’s all natural. ... You’ve got answers other than drugs and surgery.”
How are you a herbalist? “The master’s program (I took) included herbal medicine. I had always loved plants and been interested in the ways people use plants. ... Acupuncture and herbs work closely together.”
Is acupuncture difficult to learn? “You need to learn anatomy and physiology. There’s some of the required science. The texts our profession is based on were written 1,800 to 2,000 years ago. And they’re still 100 percent relevant. ... I’m the type of person who needs a lot of variety, who needs to always be learning. I can be in this field forever and never get tired of it. There’s so much to learn.”
What happens when someone comes in? “Part of the test is a neuro-emotional technique that involves muscle testing. ... I want people who value their health and believe in mind-body-spirit medicine.”
What makes acupuncture special? “It works on a level that no other medicine works on. It works with blood flow and circulation of all the fluids in the body. It works with the nervous system. It’s working on another energy level (that) I think modern medicine doesn’t recognize or acknowledge.”
How long until someone feels better? “It’s different for everyone. ... We say about six treatments for an acute problem you’ve had less than three months. We estimate for every year you’ve had a chronic problem, expect a month of treatment.”
What about herbs? “I customize everything here.”
Is ginger popular? “Ginger is a very important Chinese herb. We have three kinds. ... Cinnamon is very important, too. ... It warms the blood so it promotes circulation. That’s why it’s good for diabetics.”
Is there a busy time of year? “September gets busy after people get back into the school routine. March has been pretty busy.”
What do you like best? “I love the one-on-one work with another person and how I can be that safe place for them, be that one person they can completely complain to about everything.”
Any negatives? “Marketing is pretty hard, letting people know I’m here and what I can do for them.”
What misconceptions do people have about your business? “That it hurts. People are afraid of needles. These are people who haven’t had acupuncture. They got vaccines as kids and that’s what they base it on.”
Do you have competition? “There’s competition, but the area is not saturated. I never feel threatened. There’s another acupuncturist in this building.”
Are people more likely to try acupuncture now than they were 10 or 20 years ago? “Yes. More people are getting good results with it and telling their friends and family. I get referrals from chiropractors, medical doctors.”
Any favorite stories? “I helped one woman with her for fertility for six months. Then she stopped coming in. I never knew what happened. Then, six, seven years later I saw her post on Facebook: ‘Amy’s the reason I have my daughter.’ I don’t know how many babies are out there because I helped them get pregnant.”
What about men with ED? “Herbal medicine is important for that. Works great.”
Future plans? “I’m still trying to grow the practice.”
What’s your advice for someone starting a business? “Don’t put limitations on yourself. Dream big.”
If you know of a business you’d like to see to profiled in Down to Business, contact Steve Metsch at email@example.com.
Steve Metsch is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.
Features and Investigation Editor of The Sun, Mr. Henry Umahi, on Sunday, won the prestigious Investigative Reporter of the year award at the 2022 Nigeria Media Merit Award in Lagos.
Umahi won with his extraordinary report entitled: ‘South East: Beaten, battered, bleeding
•Real reasons anarchy reigns in the zone’.
The eight-page report x-rayed the killings and general insecurity in the region and exposed the conspiracies involved.
Other staff of The Sun, Messrs Henry Akubuiro and Steve Agbota, were also nominated for other categories.
A "canyon-like" hole in the sun's atmosphere has opened up and may launch a high-speed stream of solar wind into Earth's magnetic field from Thursday (Dec. 1) to Friday (Dec. 2), and will possibly cause a minor geomagnetic storm, according to spaceweather.com (opens in new tab).
The coronal hole is a gigantic solar gulf stretching across the sun’s center. Coronal holes are areas in the sun's upper atmosphere where our star's electrified gas (or plasma) is less hot and dense than in other regions, which makes them appear black in contrast. Around these holes,the sun's magnetic field lines, instead of looping back in on themselves, point outward into space, beaming solar material outwards at up to 1.8 million mph (2.9 million km/h), according to the Exploratorium, (opens in new tab) a science museum in San Francisco.
Related: Ancient solar storm smashed Earth at the wrong part of the sun's cycle — and scientists are concerned
This barrage of energetic solar debris, mostly consisting of electrons, protons and alpha particles, is absorbed by Earth’s magnetic field, which becomes compressed, triggering a geomagnetic storm. The solar particles zip through the atmosphere near the poles where Earth's protective magnetosphere is weakest and agitate oxygen and nitrogen molecules — causing them to release energy in the form of light to form colorful auroras such as the northern lights.
The storm that could hit Earth on Thursday will likely be fairly weak. Predicted to be a G-1 geomagnetic storm, it could cause minor fluctuations in power grids and impair some satellite functions — including those for mobile devices and GPS systems. It could also cause an aurora to appear as far south as Michigan and Maine (opens in new tab).
More extreme geomagnetic storms, however, can have far more serious effects. They can not only warp our planet's magnetic field powerfully enough to send satellites tumbling to Earth, but can disrupt electrical systems and even cripple the internet.
Geomagnetic storms can also come from two other forms of solar activity: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) or solar flares. Debris that erupts from the sun in the form of CMEs usually takes around 15 to 18 hours to reach Earth, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center (opens in new tab). The bright flashes of solar flares, which can cause radio blackouts, travel at the speed of light to arrive at Earth in just 8 minutes.
The upcoming storm is just the latest in a string of solar barrages fired at Earth as the sun ramps up into the most active phase of its roughly 11-year solar cycle.
Astronomers have known since 1775 that solar activity rises and falls in cycles, but recently, the sun has been more active than expected, with nearly double the sunspot appearances predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (opens in new tab). Scientists anticipate that the sun's activity will steadily climb for the next few years, reaching an overall maximum in 2025 before decreasing again.
The largest solar storm in accurate history was the 1859 Carrington Event, which released roughly the same energy as 10 billion 1-megaton atomic bombs. After slamming into Earth, the powerful stream of solar particles fried telegraph systems around the world and caused auroras brighter than the light of the full moon to appear as far south as the Caribbean. It also released a billion-ton plume of gas and caused a blackout across the entire Canadian province of Quebec, NASA reported (opens in new tab). If a similar event were to happen today, scientists warn it would cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and trigger widespread blackouts, much like the 1989 solar storm that released a billion-ton plume of gas and caused a blackout across the entire Canadian province of Quebec, NASA reported (opens in new tab).
But this may not even scratch the surface of what our star is capable of hurling at us. Scientists are also investigating the cause of a series of sudden and colossal spikes in radiation levels recorded in ancient tree rings across Earth's history. A leading theory is that the spikes could have come from solar storms 80 times more powerful than the Carrington Event, but scientists have yet to rule out some other potentially unknown cosmic source.
Editor's note: The strapline of this article has been updated to indicate that the El Ali meteorite was discovered, and did not crash, in Somalia in 2020.
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