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Solar Storms

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AngusP08
1356545.  Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:45 am Reply with quote

A solar storm is the term used to describe atmospheric effects experienced on Earth that result from large bursts of energy emitted from the surface of the Sun in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) which send streams of electrical charges and magnetic fields towards the Earth at speeds of up to 3 million mph.

Coronal mass ejections can take several days to reach Earth but when they hit, the solar particles interact with the Earth's magnetic field to produce electromagnetic fluctuations resulting in the auroras at the North and South Pole. Perhaps more significantly, if these CMEs are powerful enough, they can also disrupt power grids and satellite communication.

The largest geomagnetic storm on record occurred between 1st and 3rd September 1859 and has become known as the Carrington Event after Richard Carrington, a British astronomer who observed two solar flares a day before the storm and was the first to realise the link between solar activity and geomagnetic disturbances on Earth. The solar megaflare he observed had the energy of 10 billion atomic bombs and the CME took only 17.6 hours to reach Earth the average CME takes a few days. During the event, the Northern lights were seen as far south as the Caribbean and the southern lights as far north as Santiago, Chile. However, what made the storm even more noteworthy was the disruption it caused to telegraph systems across Europe and North America. Despite the traditional telegraph systems being down, some telegraph operators in America found that the atmosphere was so charged that they could unplug their batteries and still transmit messages using celestial power induced by the magnetic disturbances.

A similar event in the twenty-first century would cause even more disruption given that we live in a world replete with technology. According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences from 2008, an event of that magnitude would cost between $1 2 trillion due to the impacts it would have on power grids, communications, GPS and aviation. In fact, NASA have estimated that the damage to their satellite fleet alone would be in the region of $30 to $70 billion.

Sources:
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/spaceweather/index.html#q13
https://www.history.com/news/a-perfect-solar-superstorm-the-1859-carrington-event
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/3/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/

 
Janet H
1358072.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:05 pm Reply with quote

Jim Al Khalili wrote a rather good novel on the subject of Solar Storms and associated issues.

Al-Khalili, Jim (18 April 2019). Sunfall. London: Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0593077429.

 
Challenger007
1362346.  Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:46 am Reply with quote

Solar storms are a fairly serious natural phenomenon for people sensitive to changes in the magnetic field and atmospheric pressure. But there are still many events in space that affect our life in one way or another. I have recently been interested in astronomy and space engineering. I like the ideas of this company <commercial link removed by Jenny>. I really hope that in the UK the space industry will gain momentum and compete with other countries.

 
Jenny
1362357.  Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:27 am Reply with quote

Welcome Challenger007.

I have edited your post to remove the commercial link. That counts as spam, which we don't allow.

 

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