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Watch This When You're High - What Is An EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Weapon?

There's been alot of talk around these parts the last week or so about electromagnetic waves, solar flares, and possible power outages extending a bit more than just your occasional blackout when a tree limb downs your neighborhood's power lines. 

First there was NASA informing us that the sun has a giant tear in it and it's emitting solar flares and electricity storms. (nbd)

Which was coincidentally followed shortly by the Netflix horror movie Leave The World Behind, where two families deal with the collapse of the United States caused by damage and failure to the power grid and informational systems.

EMP's are nothing new. We've been hearing about them and the dangers they pose for years. Here's a brief refresher.

An EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) weapon is a device designed to emit a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The primary function of an EMP is to disrupt or damage electronic equipment and electrical systems. EMPs can be generated through natural processes, like a lightning strike, or through man-made means, such as a nuclear explosion or a specially designed conventional weapon.

There are different types of EMP weapons:

  1. Nuclear EMP (NEMP): This is the most well-known type, resulting from a nuclear explosion, typically at high altitude. The burst of gamma rays from the explosion interacts with the Earth's atmosphere, creating a powerful electromagnetic field capable of affecting a vast area.

  2. Non-Nuclear EMP (NNEMP): These are man-made devices that create a similar effect without a nuclear explosion. They use conventional explosives or other methods to generate a sudden burst of electromagnetic energy.

  3. Directed-Energy EMP (DEMP): These are more advanced and utilize directed energy to create a focused EMP effect. They might use high-power microwaves or lasers.

The effects of an EMP can range from totally devastating, and total destruction of any and all electronic components, to temporary disruption of circuits, depending on the strength of the pulse and the vulnerability of the equipment. EMP weapons are a subject of concern in military and security contexts due to their potential to cripple modern, electronics-dependent infrastructures. 

Here's some video breakdowns.