A solar flare will hit Earth soon: Should we worry?

The sun is currently erupting, with more or less consequences for the planet. (© lukszczepanski / Adobe Stock Illustrative Image)

Our good old sun is currently experiencing a phenomenonsolar eruption. From’Energy in the form of electromagnetic waves It expels and rotates between 400 and 800 kilometers per second.

For a few days, according to scientists, until the evening of Tuesday, March 15, 2022, aThese waves must reach Earth.

Given the size of the Sun – its radius is 696,340 km, Earth is 6371 – and much higher than scorching temperatures – 5,000 degrees on average at the surface – the concerns about this eruption make sense.

Can it affect humans? Should we be afraid of them? decoding.

“The sun, the friend who only wants good for you”

“These events are relatively frequent. The sun is a friend who wants you nothing but good.”Actuary Jean-Pierre Martin, President of the Cosmology Committee of the Astronomical Society of France.

On Earth, we are fortunate to have us strong magnetic fieldthat deflects the waves sent out by the sun.

Videos: Currently in Actu

“The Earth’s field is branching out from the most dangerous particles,” the president adds. Nature does things well.

In the simulation below, made with real data, we can see what the solar flare looks like when it reaches Earth (the black dot on the left).

according to Jean-Pierre MartinThe current eruption is too small to have any impact on life on Earth.

On the other hand, In a disaster scenarioif an astronaut were on the Moon, for example, and a major solar eruption was directed directly at him, “it would take as much radiation as it would have been in the immediate relief spot during the Chernobyl disaster,” imagine Milan Maksimovich, CNRS research director at the Space Studies Laboratory. and astrophysics at the Paris Observatory.

READ  Discord says no to Microsoft and $ 12 billion ...

Physical consequences then?

“There could also be repercussions for equipment,” notes the CNRS director of research.

He’s thinking in particular about planes that might find themselves having to change course in the event of a solar flare. Otherwise, passengers on the flight may be exposed to radiation. »

Moreover, when such an event is directed at the Earth, the first rays that reach the blue planet heat up its atmosphere, amplifying it. This is dangerous for satellites, which find themselves turbulent and can absorb, or even immediately disappear from the radar.

Irreversibly, they will fall off as they burn in the atmosphere.

This happened recently to Elon Musk and his company SpaceX, which lost about 40 satellites.

Troubles have already occurred

But over the years, men have managed to adapt their equipment to these space weather events. Organizations such as the Met Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), capable of preventing it, have been created.

When that happens, we’re watching satellites with more effort than usual. You can simply turn it off, while the energy wave is going through it, to turn it back on again afterwards.

Milan MaksimovicDirector of Research at CNRS

On the other hand, problems can arise on electrical networks. Such was the case in 1989 in Quebec, when millions of people found themselves without light for nearly ten hours.

Telecommunications, too, can be disrupted, as happened in Sweden in 2015. This is another reason aircraft lanes can change during solar events.

But the researcher reassures that all this “is unlikely to happen with such a small explosion.”

READ  References Isola Bio food: Here are the products referred to

Northern lights

The potential risk to equipment is not the only consequence of these solar flares.

“Waves that get close enough to the globe excite atoms of oxygen and nitrogen and cause a phenomenon that a large number of people seek to observe: the aurora borealis,” Jean-Pierre Martin describes.

Moreover, since waves can leave the Sun in all directions, the aurora borealis is not an terrestrial phenomenon. “We’ve already observed it on Jupiter or Saturn,” he says.

Space is as beautiful and wonderful as it is mysterious and frightening.

Was this article useful to you? Know that you can follow Actu in space news . With one click, and after registration, you will find all the news of your favorite cities and brands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.