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 Solar storm passes without incident

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Suzanne Sawatski



Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2012-02-10

PostSubject: Solar storm passes without incident   Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:00 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17295337

The article above talks about the most recent solar storm of which the last charged particles are expected to pass Earth on Friday. I find this article to be very interesting, especially because we are currently learning about magnetic fields and recently discussed solar storms in class. Solar storms, often classified as solar flares or solar winds, are caused by the sun shooting charged particles towards the Earth. These charged particles then follow the Earth's magnetic field to the poles where they spiral down and collide with other particles. The Northen Lights, also known as the Aura Borealis, are a result of these particles. However, despite the pretty sight of the Northern Lights, solar storms do have downfalls. There are many satellites which rest outside of the Earth's magnetic field, and when hit with the charged particles released from the Sun, they can suffer extensive damage. The rush of charged particles entering the poles can also cause current spikes and power outtages on Earth.
This last solar storm has been one of the stronger storms recordered, and is said to be a "wake-up call" for what the furture holds. The suns surface activity follows an eleven year cycle and is due to peak in 2013 and 2014, with more violent storms predicted over the next few years. With our dependency upon technology, much of which uses space technologu and the national power grid, how will we cope with these storms? Many satellites will have to be shut down to avoid major damage during the storms, having numerous effects on our usual day to day lives. Hopefully these storms can offer as a study for scientists to help them come up with technology that will withstand the effect of these solar storms in the future.

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Cassidy Mozak



Number of posts : 46
Registration date : 2012-02-03

PostSubject: Re: Solar storm passes without incident   Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:26 pm

Overall, space weather scientists do not seem overly concerned with the solar flares that have been occuring as of late. Although the effects of these storms can be adverse, as a generalization of our time on Earth, they cannot harm humans but they can, as Suzanne pointed out, disrupt our lives as people dependent on space technology, which can be damaged as a result of these solar winds. The fact that flares like this occur quite often as part of the eleven year cycle of the sun makes me think that we should be considering new technologies that do not require the use of space and can avoid the effects of these high-energy particles from the Sun. This way, money is not wasted when we have to repair satellites that are damaged due to the flares and our lives would not suffer these technological disruptions. I believe in the future such developments will come about as society becomes tired of having to deal with the flaws of space technology.
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