The Sun, our Sun is always hot, but in past week, it seems to be angry about something – because it has erupted seven enormous flares in last 7 days! Out of which, one is the strongest in past 12 years and one is already headed on the way to Earth.
Last week, NASA announced to have recorded the largest solar flare since 12 years and after that, it has been continuously erupting every day in a steady stream of flares. These flares are basically powerful bursts of radiations from the Sun which erupts out in space because of some sunspot-related magnetic activity – which is a regular thing. But what makes the recent flares into the headlines is – one of the bursts was so strong that it actually teared off a piece of Sun and was flung into space! This phenomenon has a name too; it’s called – Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). Now depending on the amount of force it was flung out of Sun and its strength, if one hits Earth then it could affect us.
Thankfully, Earth’s atmosphere shields us from all those radiations and the odds are very low that it might affect us adversely. And our solar system is a huge shooting gallery – its huge – with comparatively tinier targets like tiny little Earth; the Sun would actually have to aim at us to hit directly. The only turbulence we could face because of solar flare radiations are – disturbance in radiofrequency waves, especially near polar regions; minor disruptions in the orbits of our satellites and those beautiful, beautiful northern lights that glow up the skies like anything.
Although the recent flares won’t affect us much, they shouldn’t be ignored because these radiations could spike into Earth’s atmosphere and pump unwanted electric signals into power grids, electric lines and even devices. There have been events in past when electric networks were fried and entire cities were blacked out. Considering today’s modern era when we are so technology and electricity dependent that it could disrupt everything around us. Imagine everything electronic around you to be burnt down – it could turn out into a worldwide disaster, right? But relax, that’s not happening this time and even if it does, it would take about two days for the solar flares to reach to Earth – giving us enough time to get ready.