The volatile surface of the Sun can unleash strong solar flares! Know how they can impact Earth.
The surface of the Sun is filled with electrically charged gases that generate areas of powerful magnetic forces, known as magnetic fields. These electrically-charged hot gases on the Sun are constantly moving, tangling, stretching and twisting these magnetic fields. These can then lead to a sudden explosion of energy and we call these phenomena solar flares. The Sun follows a certain schedule and it is called a solar cycle that lasts for 11 years after which the activity subsides. During this active period, the most worrying things about the Sun’s activities are these giant solar flares that it generates and sends shooting out into space and some of them are directed at Earth.
NASA says, “If a solar flare is very intense, the radiation it releases can interfere with our radio communications here on Earth.” Not just radio, the really massive solar flares can even knock out satellites, and cause power grid failures on Earth. Apart from that, solar flares also spark those mesmerizing lights in the sky on the poles. These are the auroras on the poles of the planet.
Solar flares are not the only worry for humans. NASA reveals, “Solar flares are sometimes accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME). CMEs are huge bubbles of radiation and particles from the Sun. They explode into space at very high speed when the Sun’s magnetic field lines suddenly reorganize.” It is when these charged particles from a CME reach areas near Earth, that they trigger these auroras.
Scientists closely monitor solar activity every day to find out what the Sun is doing and if there is a massive solar flare being generated, then they can take steps to protect infrastructure on Earth as well as astronauts and satellites in the sky..