4 Cool Facts about Solar Flares

4 Cool Facts about Solar flares

4 Cool Facts about Solar flares

Did you know that most of the Solar Flares we experience here on Earth are harmless? However, a few can cause serious trouble and even catastrophic events.

Solar flares are defined as spontaneous flashes of brightness observed near the sun’s surface. Additionally, they can also be defined as a tremendous explosion due to a release of the magnetic field on our Solar System’s star, Sol (the Sun).

If you’ve watched the recent and popular Science Fiction movie the Maze Runner, then you might be familiar with the effects and catastrophe surrounding Solar Flares. Enough chit-chat, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty; brace yourself for 4 Cool Facts about Solar Flares.

Facts about Solar Flares #4: X-Flares, M-Flares and C-Flares

You may have read that title and thought you’d be getting some information on a new X-men character. Don’t be disappointed, but you are not going to hear anything Marvel related.

According to the way Scientist classify Solar Flares, there are currently three different classifications that the X-ray wavelengths of Solar Flares are broken up into.

First, we’ve got the X-Flare, these are massive on scale and can cause unbelievable radiation storms in the upper atmosphere on Earth. These flares can even cause and initiate radio blackouts around the World.

 

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By I, Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://goo.gl/b1fVA5

 

The second type of classification are more minor flares of radiation. These are referred to as M-class flares and don’t typically cause massive power grid failures.

The third type of X-ray wavelength flares are called C-Flares. These are generally medium-sized flares and typically only affect the Polar Regions here on Earth. These are one of the most mild and least likely flares to cause serious damage on Earth, as compared to the others.

Facts about Solar Flares #3 A Hazard to Humans

It’s tough to imagine that an X-ray wave 93,000,000 miles away can cause any harm here on Earth, however, Solar Flares ain’t nutin’ to mess wit.

High energy particles are released when Solar Flares take place and are poisonous to humans. The Earth protects us from hazardous chemicals, but due to the recent thinning of the ozone layer, some harmful energy particles reach Earth.

These particles released from Solar Flares can penetrate into living cells, which is when the harmful damage can occur.

 

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This event damages chromosomes and causes health related problem like skin cancer, so be careful and listen out for warnings. If these solar protons have energy factors greater than 30 Mev, then they are extremely hazardous and you should follow protocol to make sure to avoid potential threats.

Likewise, Solar Flares can cause famine by reducing agricultural yield, who would have thought? Lastly, bacteria and viruses become stronger and more resistant to antibiotics after high levels of exposure to Solar Flared. Are you serious?!?!

Facts about Solar Flares #2 A Hole in the Magnetosphere

We all know about the hole in the ozone, but did you know about the hole in the Magnetosphere?

The Magnetosphere is the area around the earth, which protects us from Solar Flares (and you didn’t even know it was there).

 

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In recent discoveries, it’s been determined that a hole in the Magnetosphere has increased up to four times the size it was previously thought to be.

Our planet’s defenses against Solar Flares have been weakened due to Solar Flares, kind of a shitty cyclical pain-in-the-ozone. As a result, whenever new solar storms occur, harmful magnetic waves will easily get access into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Facts about Solar Flares #1: More Powerful than a Volcano

It’s nearly impossible to imagine the scale of energy that gets released when a Solar Flare takes place, however, Solar flares release roughly 10,000,000 times the energy a volcano releases during an eruption.

A volcanic eruption has nothing on a Solar Flares in terms of dangerous particles being released. Solar Flares release billion of charged particles caused by magnetic fields; volcanoes just shoot hot magma out their pie-holes.

 

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By Oliver Spalt, CC BY 2.0, https://goo.gl/oKPXcA

 

These charged particles have such a high rate of energy acceleration; they can reach Earth in less than two days. The outpouring of these high energy particles is largely due to the high temperatures on the Sun, which can reach several million degrees Fahrenheit.

There was such a strong outburst of energy aimed towards the Earth that the Solar Flare knocked out the power grid in Quebec during 1989. The power grid was crippled due to a geomagnetic storm in the Earth’s atmosphere, disrupting the electrical system and halting that city to a complete stop.

 

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During peak periods, there can be 20 Solar Flares per day and hundred Solar Flares in a week (but don’t freak out). The vast majority of these Solar Flares are harmless, but time to time there can be dangerous ones that we have to be careful about.

Imagine the chaos caused by a disconnection of the Internet, or a blackout from electricity; in these scenarios, solar flares can cause widespread destruction and you should freak out. Imagine, no internet… why even live? Just kidding, the internet has back up batteries. Just kidding, I have no idea where the internet is or what powers it.

 

Featured image: By NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Flickr: Magnificent CME Erupts on the Sun – August 31, CC BY 2.0, https://goo.gl/6ZKy2b

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