The gruesome effect of solar flares on Earth | Tech News

The gruesome effect of solar flares on Earth

The volatile surface of the Sun can unleash strong solar flares! Know how they can impact Earth.

| Updated on: Aug 06 2022, 21:42 IST
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1/6 Solar flare vs coronal mass ejection (CME): Here is what NASA said. (
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2/6 The sun is currently going through the Solar Cycle 25, which started back in December 2019. During this period, the Sun's activity keeps increasing till it reaches its peak levels during the solar cycle. (Pixabay)
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3/6 NASA said, “Solar events will continue to increase as we near solar maximum in 2025, and our lives and technology on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space, will be impacted.” During a solar cycle, the Sun’s nature transforms from calm to active and then again quiet, after which a new solar cycle starts. (Pixabay)
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4/6 The Coronal Mass Ejections that take place during the solar flare can cause serious damage. When a solar flare hits the Earth, the radio communications and the power grid is affected when it hits the Earth’s magnetic field. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large. (NASA/SDO)
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5/6 Solar Storms are not only dangerous for people on Earth but also for Astronauts in space. Massive radiations emitted from solar storms pose a radiation risk for astronauts. So, in case of solar storms, astronauts have to take shelter inside the International Space Station. (NASA)
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6/6 Although solar storms can cause various effects which have the potential to harm the planet, they also result in one of the most beautiful phenomena - Northern Lights. Northern Lights, also known as Auroras, bring about shifting curtains of light in greens, blues and pinks in the night sky. (AFP)
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A solar flare is a massive outburst of energy from the Sun, which can leave areas on Earth in the dark in this modern age! (NASA)

The surface of the Sun is filled with electrically charged gases that generate areas of powerful magnetic forces, known as magnetic fields. These electrically-charged hot gases on the Sun are constantly moving, tangling, stretching and twisting these magnetic fields. These can then lead to a sudden explosion of energy and we call these phenomena solar flares. The Sun follows a certain schedule and it is called a solar cycle that lasts for 11 years after which the activity subsides. During this active period, the most worrying things about the Sun's activities are these giant solar flares that it generates and sends shooting out into space and some of them are directed at Earth.

NASA says, "If a solar flare is very intense, the radiation it releases can interfere with our radio communications here on Earth." Not just radio, the really massive solar flares can even knock out satellites, and cause power grid failures on Earth. Apart from that, solar flares also spark those mesmerizing lights in the sky on the poles. These are the auroras on the poles of the planet.

Solar flares are not the only worry for humans. NASA reveals, "Solar flares are sometimes accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME). CMEs are huge bubbles of radiation and particles from the Sun. They explode into space at very high speed when the Sun's magnetic field lines suddenly reorganize." It is when these charged particles from a CME reach areas near Earth, that they trigger these auroras.

Scientists closely monitor solar activity every day to find out what the Sun is doing and if there is a massive solar flare being generated, then they can take steps to protect infrastructure on Earth as well as astronauts and satellites in the sky..

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First Published Date: 06 Aug, 21:42 IST