We asked AI chatbot Google Bard about the next big solar storm; The answer was TERRIFYING | Tech News

We asked AI chatbot Google Bard about the next big solar storm; The answer was TERRIFYING

We asked Google Bard, the AI chatbot, about the possibility of a major solar storm in 2023. The answer was quite terrifying. Find out what it revealed.

| Updated on: Jun 07 2023, 09:58 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
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1/5 The Sun is the largest object in our solar system and is a 4.5 billion-year-old star – a hot glowing ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of the solar system. It is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth, and without its energy, life as we know it could not exist here on our home planet. (Pixabay)
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2/5 The Sun’s volume would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it. Its gravity holds the solar system together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest bits of debris in orbit around it. The hottest part of the Sun is its core, where temperatures top 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). The Sun’s activity, from its powerful eruptions to the steady stream of charged particles it sends out, influences the nature of space throughout the solar system. (NASA)
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3/5 According to NASA, measuring a “day” on the Sun is complicated because of the way it rotates. It doesn't spin as a single, solid ball. This is because the Sun’s surface isn't solid like Earth's. Instead, the Sun is made of super-hot, electrically charged gas called plasma. This plasma rotates at different speeds on different parts of the Sun. At its equator, the Sun completes one rotation in 25 Earth days. At its poles, the Sun rotates once on its axis every 36 Earth days. (NASA)
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4/5 Above the Sun’s surface are its thin chromosphere and the huge corona (crown). This is where we see features such as solar prominences, flares, and coronal mass ejections. The latter two are giant explosions of energy and particles that can reach Earth. (Pixabay)
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5/5 The Sun doesn’t have moons, but eight planets orbit it, at least five dwarf planets, tens of thousands of asteroids, and perhaps three trillion comets and icy bodies. Also, several spacecraft are currently investigating the Sun including Parker Solar Probe, STEREO, Solar Orbiter, SOHO, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Hinode, IRIS, and Wind. (Pixabay)
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Know when the next big solar storm can strike the Earth, according to Google Bard. (NOAA)

The Earth continues to wait for the big cloud of coronal mass ejections (CME) that is expected to hit between June 7-8 and spark a minor solar storm. In the last couple of weeks, our planet has witnessed a very low amount of solar activity, although it is expected to pick up soon with as many as eight sunspots present on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. But nobody knows when the next big solar storm might come. So, we decided to ask the AI chatbot Google Bard to see if he has any information about it. And unexpectedly, he had a terrifying response to share.

AI reveals the next big solar storm for Earth

We asked Bard, “When can the next big solar storm strike the Earth?”

Bard replied, “The next big solar storm could hit Earth anytime. The sun is currently in a solar maximum, which means that it is more active than usual. This means that there is a greater chance of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which can cause geomagnetic storms on Earth”.

The response was concerning. And we wanted to ask Bard about a more specific date for this solar storm, but its responses were vague. This is mainly because we do not have technology on Earth that can reliably predict solar storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, ESA, and other agencies have kept their satellites to monitor the Sun but they can only predict a solar storm after it has been unleashed by the Sun, which gives us a period of 24-48 hours.

So, needless to say, we were impressed with Bard's factually correct response. So, we pressed further. We asked the AI bot “What kind of damage can a major solar storm do to the Earth?”.

Bard responded, “A major solar storm could cause widespread power outages, damage to satellites, and disrupt communications. It could also pose a risk to astronauts in space. The largest solar storm ever recorded was the Carrington Event in 1859. This storm was so powerful that it caused telegraph wires to spark and start fires. A solar storm of this magnitude would have devastating consequences for modern society”.

While terrifying, this response is also accurate. Solar storms are known to damage satellites, as we saw last year when SpaceX lost nearly 40 of its Starlink satellites due to a solar storm. They are also known for power outages. The Quebec solar storm in 1989 caused major power outages in Canada and USA that lasted for hours. Communication disruption is something even minor solar storms can do. We regularly hear about GPS disruptions and radio blackouts whenever a CME cloud strikes. For major solar storms, it can even disrupt mobile networks and internet connectivity.

However, whether such a solar storm will hit the Earth or not is something that cannot be predicted. Not even AI can answer this question. We will just have to wait and see what the Sun has in store for us.

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First Published Date: 07 Jun, 09:58 IST