Sunday, February 28, 2021
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Will the Upcoming Solar Storm cause a Total Blackout?

Space weather experts have a wild forecast for this week. A solar storm could hit the Earth this week and may disrupt satellite communications, Electric generation systems, power grids, and radio signals.

Earlier this week, on Sunday, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured extraordinary solar events. A Solar flare blasted across the solar surface for over 2.5 hours. Corresponding to the same event, a solar storm could be striking the Earth this week.

The majority of the solar activity comprises the snapping of magnetic filaments in the Sun’s atmosphere. A tremendous amount of energy is stored in these magnetic ‘strips.’ And when these strips break, it hurls debris that contains high energetic charged particles and radiation into the Solar system.

The upcoming storm is caused by a similar solar event called Coronal Mass Ejection(CME). CME causes high energy particles, Protons particularly, along with radio waves to propel fast towards the planets. Protons from this event interact with Earth’s magnetic field and can have a range of effects. Aurora(Southern or Northern lights) is one of them.   

Most of the time, Earth’s magnetic field(Magnetosphere) protects us from these charged particles. They enter the Earth’s atmosphere through the poles where the magnetic field narrows down. And when they interact with the atmosphere, they release energy in the form lights, and we have the beautiful Aurora.

Northern Lights
Beautiful Northern Lights

But, in the solar storms like these, these charged particles produce their own magnetic fields, which can alter Earth’s magnetic field, cause a power surge in electric grids, induce currents in long metal pipes.

Such solar storms predominantly affect satellite communications. This can lead to the failure of Navigations systems, communications, weather forecasting, etc. It’s not the first time such major Solar storms hit us. One hundred fifty years ago, in 1859, a huge swarm of charged particles slammed in the Earth’s atmosphere wreaking havoc. The one that hit the latter in 1989 cut off the electric supply to a Canadian state. 

The Earth and other planets are constantly hit by the Solar and other Cosmic radiation. Thanks to our Magnetic shield that protects us all the time from such cosmic calamities. Solar storms tend to alter the planet’s magnetic fields as well as the composition of the atmosphere.

Also by the Author: MYTH busted about “Parallel” Universe.

Sameer Patil
Sameer Patil
A graphic designer, who can do absolutely any task effortlessly. Sameer is a gaming freak and an IT expert with a philanthropic brain.
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