Is it true that solar storms are dangerous?
AUTHORITIES have issued a warning that a solar storm is on its way to Earth.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a warning that the storm could cause power outages. So, what exactly are they, and are they potentially dangerous? According to EarthSky, solar storms are normally not dangerous because humans are protected by the Earth’s blanket of atmosphere.
Solar storms occur when solar flares – strong bursts of radiation – are generated from the sun and move throughout space, according to the website.
Solar storms produce enormous coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, which are giant bursts of gas and magnetic fields ejected from the sun and last minutes to hours.
These can contain billions of tons of charged particles and travel at speeds of several million miles per hour.
Solar storms can be deadly in space, causing radiation sickness in humans and other creatures in the deep reaches if they aren’t shielded.
Large doses have the potential to be lethal.
They can also have an impact on modern technologies, causing electricity and communication systems to be temporarily disrupted.
When a solar storm hits the Earth, it causes a geomagnetic storm, which is its own kind of storm.
On March 13, 1989, a solar storm knocked out power in Quebec, Canada, as well as sections of the northeastern United States.
For up to nine hours, millions of people were without power.
The Carrington Event, the greatest solar outburst ever recorded, occurred on August 28, 1859.
CMEs traveled to Earth in under 17 hours during that storm, rather than the usual three or four days, according to EarthSky.
Even at latitudes closer to the equator, an aurora was visible across the sky.
It caused telegraph systems across Europe and North America to fail.
They can occur at various times and are dependent on the solar cycle’s stage.
The sun goes through 11-year cycles, during which it becomes extraordinarily active or incredibly quiet.
Solar weather refers to periods of increased activity.
Many solar flares can occur on the same day during the solar maximum, whereas flares can occur as frequently as once every week during the solar minimum.