When Sun turns into Earth-Killer: The dark side of Solar storms and CME | Tech News

When Sun turns into Earth-Killer: The dark side of Solar storms and CME

The same solar energy from the Sun that nurtures life on Earth can start a blaze of fury that is capable of leaving humanity on the verge of death. Know the reality of solar storms and CME that is not talked about.

| Updated on: Aug 19 2022, 18:50 IST
How the Sun can capsize humans just by intensifying its energy into CME and solar storms. (NASA)
How the Sun can capsize humans just by intensifying its energy into CME and solar storms. (NASA)

Life on Earth probably would not have been possible if the Sun was not there. From providing the warmth to make complex chemical reactions possible to sustaining them today by allowing plants to make their own food and provide for everyone else in the food chain, the Sun has always been the center of the existence of humans. Yet, the same Sun today, is threatening us with a scenario that can easily cause mass death and destruction. And it is doing that by just slightly increasing the intensity of nuclear fusion reactions on its surface and sending coronal mass ejections (CME) to cause solar storms.

It has been known for a while that the Sun is entering its peak, the solar maximum, next year. This is when the Sun is at its most unstable and shoots powerful explosions all over its surface. And when these explosions throw solar mass into space, these particles, known as CME, with high magnetic fields and extremely high temperature move into every direction. When they come towards the Earth and react with the magnetosphere of the Earth, the phenomenon is known as solar storm. And when intense, these solar storms can have deadly consequences.

How a solar storm can be deadly for humans

Solar storms are largely known for beautiful arora lights that people wait to see. However, these aurora causing solar storms are often low intensity CME bombardment, and that is why we do not realize the terrifying nature of it. If a solar storm was really strong, about G5 class, then it would not just be causing auroras but also damaging the satellites that revolve around the Earth.

Once the satellites are gone, the immediate effect on us would be a complete loss of communication. We will not have GPS to navigate, mobile networks to communicate with one another and internet services to know what's happening. And that is not where it stops. Really powerful solar storms, like the Carrington event that took place in 1859, can also destroy power grids. This means most of the electronic devices we use will instantly come to a halt.

To explain how deadly this situation is, picture this: You will not be able to call emergency services if a fire broke out or someone needed an ambulance. Hospitals that rely heavily on power for their critical machines like ECG, dialysis, defibrillator and ventilators will not work, meaning the patients dependent on them will instantly die. As there is no GPS, planes and ships can crash, killing all the passengers.

Maybe it is not enough to entirely wipe out humans, but an event like this can deal a deadly blow to all the technological advancement we have made in the last 200 years. For now, we can only pray that the Sun spares us.

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First Published Date: 19 Aug, 18:50 IST