Massive Solar Storm Heading Towards Earth. Can It Affect Your Health?
Solar storms send a stream of electrical charges and magnetic fields towards the Earth.
A powerful solar storm is approaching the earth at a speed of 1.6 million kilometers per hour, and is expected to cause major impact on the communication infrastructure, according to reports.
The storm is expected to batter parts of the earth on July 11-12.
The impact of this will be centered on sub-solar point on the sunlit side of Earth, according to the Space Weather Prediction Centre of the United States.
What Is a Solar Storm?
It is basically, a term used for the atmospheric effects felt on Earth due to certain events on the Sun.
So, solar storms are a naturally occurring phenomenon where the sun releases huge bursts of energy in the form of solar flares, and/or coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
These send a stream of electrical charges and magnetic fields towards the Earth.
How Long Do They Last?
Solar storms can last only a few minutes to several hours but the affects of geomagnetic storms can linger in the Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere for days to weeks.
What Does This Mean for Our Health?
According to most experts, the effect of this is probably not much on our health. But there is no consensus.
"Radiation from solar activity is a natural part of our environment and does not threaten our health on a day-to-day basis," the United States Environmental Protection Agency says.
However, people on airplanes flying at high altitudes over the poles might be at higher risk for some of this radiation, experts say.
Sometimes, flight routes are changed during periods of unusual solar activity for protection.
But some experts are not convinced that solar storms are harmless.
They say, the radiation from the solar storms can cause:
What Other Disruption Can We Expect?
Blackout of high frequency radio communication
Satellites in earth's upper atmosphere might be affected
Direct impact on GPS navigation
Direct impact on mobile phone signal, satellite TV
Power grids might be impacted
It's not all bad news. Due to the solar storm, we can expect an amplified view of Aurora lights in North or South Pole. The people living closer to the poles will get to experience these beautiful lights.
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