Black People : Just Explain It: Solar Storms

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Keita Kenyatta, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Keita Kenyatta

    Keita Kenyatta going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

    Feb 7, 2004
    Likes Received:
    +3,381 / -1
    You’ve probably heard of or seen photos of the Aurora Borealis – a natural light show in the northern night sky. But did you know this phenomenon is actually caused by solar storms, happening on the Sun's surface 93 million miles away?

    As it happens, the storms aren’t just in the business of putting on a great show. They can also interfere with GPS and satellites, and even cause major power outages.

    Later this year, solar activity is expected to increase, and so will the likelihood that these storms will affect our everyday lives on Earth. Travel, communications, phone service and basic power are all vulnerable to solar storms.

    So, what causes these solar storms? How do they affect us here on Earth? And what can we do to protect infrastructure and ourselves? That's the topic of today's "Just Explain It."

    Let’s start by going straight to the source: the Sun.

    On the Sun’s surface, turbulent magnetic activity creates what are called sunspots. If the sunspots are powerful enough, they can cause bursts of light known as solar flares.

    Sunspots and other solar activity can also release charged particles and plasma from the Sun’s surface. The ejection of these particles is known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME.

    While solar flares can create some disruptions here on Earth, it’s the CMEs that cause major problems.

    The charged particles of a CME typically take about three days to reach Earth. When they do, they usually bounce off the magnetic field surrounding the planet.

    Here’s where the pretty lights come in. The aurora in the night sky is actually caused by those particles from the CME bouncing around in Earth’s magnetic field.

    But it can turn ugly. If enough particles get trapped in the magnetic field, they can actually cause it to shake. This shaking is called a geomagnetic storm and it can wreak havoc on our electric grids.

    It’s happened before. On March 13, 1989, a massive CME created a geomagnetic storm that shut down power in Quebec, Canada for 12 hours.

    But the most powerful geomagnetic storm on record was the Carrington Event in 1859. It’s named for astronomer Richard Carrington who first saw the CME’s sunspots. There were worldwide reports of telegraph communications failing, with sparks exploding from machines and even catching papers on fire.

    Why is this so important now? Solar activity goes in 11-year cycles. The current cycle is expected to reach its solar maximum, or peak, later this year. That means more CMEs, and more chances for those storms to impact us here on Earth.

    With our reliance on electricity, a Carrington-sized CME could be catastrop
  2. asmith161718

    asmith161718 Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Dec 31, 2009
    Likes Received:
    +158 / -0
    According to some people we are in a binary with the star system Sirius. And that is the reason for all of the sun activity and asteroids that have came our way lately. If more asteroids come and hit a major city it could really mess up daily life for some time.

  3. magyarmaiden

    magyarmaiden Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Sep 23, 2012
    Likes Received:
    +18 / -0
    That almost happened in Russia some months ago. Thankfuly it was in the Urals, a low population area. Careful, the first video is loud.