The Physics Of The Solar Flare

1757 WordsMar 1, 20168 Pages
The solar flare came at a very inopportune time, yet not unexpected considering the sun is currently at the peak of its 11 year sunspot cycle [11]. Somehow the station maintained all power and communications with the U.S., but the X-ray and radio waves from the flare impacted communications with Moscow, where their asteroid detection telescopes are located [11]. This is likely because the ionosphere above Moscow was affected the most by the flare’s x-rays, thereby disturbing its radio communications [11]. It is very hard to prepare for a solar flare though, considering it only takes around 8 minutes for the high energy photons to reach earth, which is why John was not surprised to have been caught unaware [11]. If it had happened at any other time, John wouldn’t have been too worried because the Planetary Defense Coordination Office branch of NASA is able to detect any imminent threats with at least a week or two advanced warning. This is plenty of warning for the high powered laser that obliterates smaller asteroids and alters the course of larger ones; however, the circumstances are different in this case. Just two days prior, John had received a transmission from the Russian base in Moscow that they had detected an incoming asteroid posed to strike Earth, but as they were about to transfer the coordinates of the asteroid to John, the solar flare’s radiation struck the Earth’s ionosphere and cut off the communication with Moscow. This asteroid was what people in John’s

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