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Solar Storms Impact on Earth


  • Earth experienced a powerful solar storm, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shared observations of the geomagnetic event from various perspectives, including those from its own solar mission, Aditya L1.
  • Additionally, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter detected emissions from the Sun.

About Solar Storms

  • Solar storms are regular occurrences in the Sun’s solar cycle (11-year cycle).
  • They involve the Sun emitting massive bursts in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), releasing light, energy, and solar material into space.

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Impact of Solar Storms on Earth

  • Solar storms can reach Earth with varying intensities.
  • The energy from the Sun can create bright lights in the sky known as auroras, including the northern lights.
  • Solar storms can cause various disruptions on Earth, including:
    • Disruption of satellites: Solar storms can interfere with satellite operations, affecting communication and navigation systems.
    • Disruption of electronic devices: Electronic devices like phones and GPS systems can be affected by solar flares.
    • Radio communication interference: Powerful solar flares can disrupt radio communications over large areas.
    • Power outages: Intense geomagnetic storms can cause widespread blackouts, as seen in Quebec in 1989.
    • Interference with infrastructure: Solar eruptions can interfere with critical infrastructure like railway signalling and telegraph lines, as experienced in 1859.

Solar Flares

  • Solar flares are electromagnetic radiation that travels from the Sun at the speed of light, reaching Earth in just over eight minutes.
  • They often occur alongside coronal mass ejections.

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs)

  • CMEs are large bursts of charged energy that explode from the Sun, travelling at millions of miles per hour.
  • While fast, they are not as quick as solar flares.

Causes and Effects of Aurorae

  • Aurorae are caused by violent solar events ejecting charged particles into space.
  • These particles get trapped in Earth’s magnetic field and interact with the upper atmosphere, creating aurorae.
  • Earth’s magnetic field deflects most charged particles, but some slip through near the poles, creating red, green, and purple aurorae.

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  • These storms, occurring once every few decades, can trigger blackouts, disrupt satellites, and endanger astronauts.
  • The last significant event was in 2003.
  • Recently, vivid aurorae were visible globally, even in places like Hanle in Ladakh, where they are uncommon.

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