Danger from Space: Solar Storm Could Paralyze Earth

Danger from Space: Solar Storm Could Paralyze Earth

01/17/2023 17:26 (act. 01/17/2023 22:02)

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©NASA

The increase in solar flares is cause for concern. An attack on Earth can cause major infrastructure disruptions.

Without sunlight, Earth is just a dark, cold mass in the vastness of space. But the central star is also a huge nuclear reactor that can get weaker and weaker. Increased activity and the appearance of so-called sunspots are a warning sign of a possible catastrophe.

Three bursts of energy in January

Because then there are more and more eruptions and coronal mass ejections. These launch large amounts of charged particles into space. In early January, three high-intensity energy bursts were recorded. So far they have lost the land.

When a shock wave front from the solar wind hits Earth’s magnetic field, a solar storm occurs. In the upper atmosphere, these light shows cause intense polar lights and can even be partially observed in Central Europe.

“Any Time Possible”

During strong solar storms, Earth’s magnetic field is so heavily stressed that charged particles can even reach the ground. It is feared that they could shut down the entire electrical infrastructure. Power outages, failures of various battery-powered devices, and communication failures are the consequences of these extreme cases. Mankind could be transported back to the Stone Age.

“It’s always possible for a very extreme solar storm to occur and it could have far-reaching consequences,” says Melanie Heil, space weather mission coordinator at the ESA site in Darmstadt.