Solar Storms Essay

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Solar Storms Storms in space could have a devastating effect on our society. Solar storms are a result of solar flares and are electromagnetic in nature. They are capable of causing power outages and halting all types of communication, including; electronic pagers; radio and television broadcasts; credit card transactions; military communications; etc. Solar flares are cyclical, usually over a period of eleven years. There are three basic stages to a solar flare. The first stage is the precursor stage, where the release of magnetic energy is triggered. In the second or impulsive stage, radio waves are emitted. During the third or decay stage, the gradual build up and decay of soft x-rays can be detected. The frequency of these…show more content…
The solar wind containing these hot gases races toward the edges of the solar system, and smash in to the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere protects the earth by deflecting most of the solar wind around the planet. Trillions of these charged particles mange to get through and project from the North and South poles. Energy released in this fashion excites atoms of nitrogen and oxygen, which in turn emit pulses of colored light. These formations are called an aurora. The aurora borealis, which are visible in Alaska, are a result of this sort of space storm. In 1989, during our most recent solar maximum, currents induced by a geomagnetic storm brought down the power grid that supplies Canada's Quebec province. The next solar maximum expected in the year 2000 have the capacity of even greater damage. Our society has even greater dependence on electronic modes of communication as well as power sources (grids), which are enormous and interconnected, (in order to save money). This also increases the vulnerability to power outages. If, there were extended power outages in the heat of the summer, or during a cold wave, the losses would not only be financial, but would also include a large human toll. The U.S. military is very vulnerable to the potentially devastating effects of solar flares during the solar maximum cycle. The military relies on the accuracy of its electronic equipment for communications, ballistic missile early warning, navigation, weather prediction,

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