A powerful solar flare can cripple many important for the present population of the Earth system – from satellites to power grids.
A powerful solar storm can knock out communications systems on Earth and cause tremendous economic damage, scientists warn.
In 1972, more than sixty underwater mines planted by the us military, mysteriously by themselves detonated off the coast of Vietnam. For many years this event has remained a mystery to the military and scientists, transmits Bi-bi-si. The most likely explanation managed to find just now.
The mines, most likely caused powerful flash in the Sun: meteorologists in the day several hours before the detonation of mines recorded this flash. In our time, a similar solar storm is likely to lead to far more serious consequences: a powerful solar flare can cripple many important for the present population of the Earth system – from satellites to power grids.
There are several reasons why we're so dependent on events that occur at a great distance from Earth. The sun is a star that is "boiling" mass of electrified gas (mostly hydrogen). Within this complex system the magnetic field energy is transferred. A solar flare is an explosive process of energy release in the solar atmosphere. And if flares can cause disruptions in radio communications on Earth, solar storms pose a much more serious danger. During each solar storm is the release of energy, the capacity of which is 100 thousand times the capacity of the world's nuclear Arsenal. The difference is that this energy is scattered over a huge area in space, not focused in one place. The sun can be compared to rotating around its axis with fireworks, flares from which flying in all directions. If one of these flashes will be directed towards our planet, the magnetic field surrounding this outbreak, can merge with the Earth's magnetic field.
When the solar storm will subside, the Earth's magnetic field some time will remain deformed, with a long "tail" stretching toward the Sun. As the recovery of the magnetic field motion of charged particles of the solar light to the Earth will accelerate. When charged particles collide with the upper layer of the atmosphere, there will be excitation of the atoms and molecules of the gases composing the atmosphere. The radiation of the excited atoms in the visible range – this is the phenomenon known as the polar (Northern and southern) lights.
However, the distortion of Earth's magnetic field may have other, more serious consequences. This process led to the explosion of mines on the coast of Vietnam in 1972. American mines were equipped with magnetic detonators, which were to react to the change of the magnetic field at the approach of the submarine. However, the creators of the Ming did not realize that underwater mines can detonate reacting to a sharp change in the magnetic field of the Earth. Scientists are trying to understand what leads to such powerful solar flares and how to predict these phenomena. Observation of the Earth's magnetic field began in the mid-nineteenth century. According to the data obtained extreme "weather" conditions in space are observed every 100 years and smaller-scale weather events may occur more often. In 1859 was the most powerful recorded in the history of observations of the geomagnetic storm, called the "Carrington Event". From 28 August to 2 September 1859 in the Sun there were numerous spots and flares.
The Northern lights happen around the world, even over the Caribbean. The storm led to the failure of Telegraph systems across Europe and North America. If such a storm happens again, the consequences will be much larger and more sensitive to humanity than in the mid-nineteenth century. Every year humanity becomes increasingly dependent on technology. In our days, satellites are a critical component of the global system of communication and navigation, aircraft connect continents, and the whole Earth is enmeshed in electric networks. All these systems are very vulnerable, if there are solar storms.
From solar flares can suffer electronic equipment aircraft and spacecraft, energy systems on Earth can also be disabled. Recent solar activity has suffered a lot of satellites and power grids – enough to be convinced of the need for timely forecasting of what is happening on the Sun. The solution to this problem working meteorologists and astronomers all over the world. Now meteorologists can accurately predict a solar storm for six hours before it started. For Britain, for example, such forecasting can reduce the potential damage of 16 billion pounds ($ 20.6 billion) to 3 billion pounds ($ 3,86 billion). Extreme "weather" in space is among the main risks for the UK, along with the traditional risks, such as pandemic flu and flooding. The British government is negotiating with energy companies, airlines, operators of space systems on the plan of action in case of occurrence of solar storms. These plans should help the country to minimize losses from these and other extreme events in space. It is important, for example, provide that in the event of disruption of energy systems remained enough energy to ensure the operation of the refrigerators with food supplies and medicines. If the connection to the part of the satellites is lost, the satellite navigation system and satellite television may stop working.
Accurate forecasting of possible flares and magnetic storms on the Sun would help to take more effective measures to protect equipment sensitive to changes in magnetic field. Route some flights pass through the North pole. This way, for example, often fly planes from Europe to North America. During solar flares managers usually change the flight path of the liner so that it flew over the pole. This is done in order to avoid exposure to high radiation and potential disruptions in radio communications.
Today we know about the "weather" in space is much more than was known in 1972, but with the development of technologies to ensure that the equipment will withstand the worst conditions in which we can deliver the Sun.