Solar Storm and its Impact on earth
Our Sun, at the heart of our solar system, is our main source of energy. It not only provides the heat and light that supports the various life forms on Earth, but also acts as a hub for everything around us.
However, outer space is a very unstable area where the events of the universe continue unabated. And our solar system is part of this great abyss of heaven, and this is no exception. One such event that involves researchers and the general public is a solar storm.
What is a Solar Storm?
The sun is mainly composed of superheated gas called plasma and surrounds the nucleus. Sometimes due to the turbulence caused on its surface, events can occur that lead to large bursts of energy through the outer layers of the Sun, called the heliosphere. , This affects the entire solar system.
These bursts of energy from the heliosphere are known as solar storms. Most of them are not important to our daily lives, but some masses can quickly cause havoc.
When does Solar Storm occur?
There are many types of solar storms, depending on their appearance and the energy released. The most common is the flame of the sun. This is a sudden release of energy caused by the interaction of the sun’s magnetic fields near sunspots.
Coronal mass ejection events or CMEs often occur after these solar flares. This is a large-scale explosion in which strongly ionized particles pop out of the surface of the Sun and cover the entire path.
These CME events are of paramount importance to us, as ionized particles can ruin satellites orbiting the Earth and disrupt the communications system that is the backbone of our existence today.
However, solar storms which can cause so much damage are rare occurrences and the last such storm was in 1989 with predictions for the occurrence of one in 2021.
Will it be Internet apocalypse?
According to a study report released by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California, Irvine and VMware Research, the occurrence of a solar storm can prove harmful for Internet and communication systems.
In her research paper, Sangeetha has highlighted that while it may not be possible to completely avoid these solar events, not every place will be affected in the same way. In fact, the extent of effect would be greatly determined by the geography of the area, with the USA being most vulnerable and Asia being the least susceptible to damage.
Also, with modern-day systems utilising fibre optics rather than conventional current-based wires, many local Internet systems would remain unaffected and would be reconnected in alternate ways if need be.
The researcher also stated that the exact amount of infrastructure damage and blackouts are hard to predict and there is a need to make more resilient connectivity systems around the globe in order to withstand any occurrence of such events.
Solar Storm 2021: Impact on networks
These solar storms are real threats that are very likely to affect the grid. CME generates geomagnetic induced currents on the surface of the earth, affecting Internet cables. These CMEs cause fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field, which in turn induces geomagnetism on the Earth’s conductive surfaces.
This electromagnetic induction current travels in and out of long-range conductors from grounded neutral, causing the destruction of electrical equipment. Such storms affect long-range cables such as cables, submarines, and satellites.
According to a research article published by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, solar storms are strong enough to cause catastrophic turmoil in the next decade.
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