Astronomy

How Solar Flares Affect the Earth



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Ever since the existence of solar flares has been brought to the world’s attention, scientists have been cautiously examining the threat that solar flares have on Earth’s very own existence. The actual solar flare reaching the Earth is unlikely; however it’s the ultraviolet radiation and the x-rays emitted by the solar flares that threaten us the most.

These dangerous rays can affect the Earth’s upper atmosphere causing an array of disturbances to our daily life. Communication links, especially those that are shortwave broadcasts, would work intermittently or cease to work at all. Those communication circuits that use high frequency bands would be highly affected. With saying that, our precious television and big time radio stations are safe.

Don’t count on your GPS to give you the correct directions. Any communications that depend on the satellites to power your electronics or point you in the right direction would go offline. This black out would be devastating to air traffic controllers, banking systems, satellite navigation, and EMS.

Once communication begins to go down, the possibility of losing our electrical power grids do as well. If the burst of solar flares’ rays are great enough to affect communications, the possibility that the currents induced by the flares can trip power grids causing widespread blackouts and damage that could possibly be irreversible. No electricity can not only affect residential homes, but also effect hospital equipment, food, and water supplies. Backup generators may only work for a brief amount of time, this leaves humanity on the clock treating patients and salvaging food before it has the chance to spoil.

The upper atmosphere is merely a shield of charged atoms, molecules, and electrons surrounding the Earth. Just like everything, it can be damaged. Given the amount of radiation, the fear of our atmosphere giving way or leaking in the deadly solar flare rays is a threat humanity has to consider. Holes in the upper atmosphere can disrupt other layers of the atmosphere contributing to heating up the ozone layer with the unfortunate event that the rays make it into our world’s living area.

NASA has issued a solar storm warning is approaching and it is the most severe we have seen in fifty years. So what can we do about it? Can we prepare for it or prevent it? Sadly, we have no control over the sun’s actions or how our atmosphere is going to handle the radiation. The most we can do is prepare ourselves with the knowledge of what may occur as well as the causes and effects of the possibilities. Brace yourself, the storm is coming!

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