By definition, an electromagnetic pulse is a transient electromagnetic disturbance. It is a brief burst of electromagnetic energy that can be natural or artificial. When detonated, an electromagnetic pulse weapon can produce enough power to create a powerful electromagnetic field capable of short-circuiting a wide range of electronic equipment. Because it could eventually affect space satellites, radar receivers, and other space gadgets, the United States Space Command hired someone to teach their personnel about it.
The United States Air Force Space Command hired Bill Nye to create a video to educate their personnel about the basic facts on Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). The said video is not available for viewing by the general public.
What is an Electromagnetic Pulse?
An Electromagnetic Pulse or EMP is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. It is often caused by a massive release of energy like a nuclear explosion. Enrique Fermi, a scientist, predicted that EMPs would occur from the launch of nuclear weapons. Even with electronic shielding, it can damage electronic recording equipment and even shut down digital clocks. The term electromagnetic pulse excluded optical and ionizing ranges such as infrared light, ultraviolet light, x-ray, and gamma radiation. (Source: 21st Century Complete Guide to Electromagnetic Pulse)
Pop Culture and Reality
Due to the myths that surrounded the concept of EMPs, the United States Air Force Space Command felt the need to hire Bill Nye, the Science Guy, to create a video for their personnel. It was entitled Hollywood vs. EMP. The Air Force wanted to make sure that they had a straightforward way to explain the difference between the real EMP and pop culture’s depiction of it. Unfortunately, the video is not accessible to the public. (Source: Future Science)
Myths and Facts About the Electromagnetic Pulse
Much of the information about EMPs are not easily accessible to the public. This is most likely the reason why there is a vast inaccuracy in its depiction in films. But here are some myths and facts we can share about EMPs.
Myth: During the 1960s, AT&T Long Lines Division was made with material that would protect lines against EMP. Thus 21st-century telephone systems are resistant to EMPs.
Fact: This myth is quite peculiar since it involves a company that no longer exists. There are several versions of this myth circulating, but the fact of the matter is, the main reason why EMPs are a threat is that the electronic devices we have nowadays are becoming more susceptible to EMPs every year.
Myth: EMPs are not a problem since there are many ways to protect against them.
Fact: While there are many ways to protect against EMPs, they are rarely used, especially in civilian infrastructure. This is because most companies prefer to save money in the short term. They do not even have any protection against lightning.
Myth: EMPs are new kinds of weapons.
Fact: EMPs are seen as secondary effects of all kinds of nuclear weapons. This was an issue during the dawn of atomic weapons back in 1945. The reason why EMPs are getting more attention now is that the essential infrastructure that sustains our daily lives are getting sensitive to the effects of EMPs.
(Source: Future Science)