Disturbance to the sun :- Solar storm
Thunderstorms are common,let’s learn something about solar storms. It’s meaning, reason and effects.
Alt text :- solar flare; image source-unsplash
So what is the first thing that strikes you when you hear the word storm? It’s all about dark clouds, striking thunderstorms,heavy rains, clouds bursting and lightning,right? No you are not wrong. Everyone gets into the imagination when they hear this. But ever heard of what a solar storm is? Yes you are right, solar means something related to the sun. So let’s get to know more.
So what is actually a solar storm? What are its effects?
We think that the sun is just a star that stays constant without any sort of reactions and movement. But the truth is that the sun is a huge ball of superheated and molten gases called plasma. There are certain atmospheric effects that are felt on earth due to certain disturbance in the sun’s layer.
- When the sun emits a certain change there is an outburst of energy in the outermost layer of the sun called the heliosphere.
- This outbreak is also called a solar storm. This energy is released in the form of solar flare or massive coronal mass ejection.
- These phenomena send a stream of electrical charges and magnetic fields towards the Earth at a speed of about three million miles per hour.
Alt text:- high energy released; image source-unsplash
- These CME events are of primary relevance to us as the ionised particles can mess up with the artificial satellites orbiting around the earth, and can rupture our communication system, which, needless to say, is the spine of our present-day existence.
Scientists who study this phenomena say that the solar flares that are appearing are said to be of the frequency for an 11 year solar cycle.
Solar disturbances are not seasonal or rare, they take place everyday. We receive solar flares everyday. The thing is that they are not at their peak. The reason that high peak bursts happen very rarely. The last such occurrence was in the year 1989 and it is estimated that it can happen in the remaining days of 2021.
Alt text:- radiations moving towards the earth; image source-unsplash
Here are some references from the study paper launched by the University of Botswana that gives certain remedies to protect the ICT failure
- There are remedial measures that need to be adopted like protecting eyes, wearing reflective clothes and repositioning any instrument that uses batteries.
- The following remedial measures are specific to ICT devices
- Use a UPS on your computer and TV
- Install lightning and surge arrestors
- Use power strips on computers and TV’s
- Wire solar energy systems to voltages lower that 150 volts
Alt text:- the sun with molten gases; image source-unsplash
- Also, on Earth, power stations and especially transformers should be insulated and reinforced so as to be able to withstand radiation coming from outer space.
- This is not rocket science; we know how to do it and the technology is already there—it’s just a question of political will.
Solar storms will continue to take place and due to that the impending solar flare in the years ahead if not today is going to cause a big destruction on the earth for sure. What has been done, so far in the ICT
area, cannot be undone but in future the preventive measures can be taken – satellites can be sent offline during big flares, power grids and communication networks can be shielded against electromagnetic radiation and so on. But it is not the end of the world, for sure.
-by Shrinidhi Shandilya (Content writer Intern)