Photo by Lights In The Dark | flickr.com

As we all know, the sun is a flaming hot ball composed of burning gases of Helium and Hydrogen. Without the sun, we would not have life on Earth, but the sun also has the ability to end life on Earth and wreak havoc.

According to solar scientists, a NASA satellite has detected a large burst of X-rays coming from a solar spot (also known as a solar flare).  It occurred on June 7th, and apparently there are many more bursts of solar flares to come. This isn’t often seen - the sun has been in a relatively inactive part of its cycle for the past few years, but the sun has become increasingly active since February.

So what does this mean for us? Well, there is no need to panic – it’s not the end of the world (not for this reason, at least!). However, solar flares are able to affect our power supply and cause a blackout, as a large solar flare can cause a change in geomagnetism from the sun, knocking out our power lines.

Luckily, we have solar scientists who are on the lookout for early detection of these large solar flares to help prevent a large power loss. What would happen if all of North America had no power? Surely, there would be chaos and many would proclaim doomsday. In the case of large solar flare, all satellites will be dysfunctional, leading to no methods of communication and no GPS systems.  Furthermore, financial transactions won’t be available, creating a huge hole in our current economic structure. Basically, we wouldn’t be able to carry on with our daily activities if this were to occur.

Although we are aware of this looming natural disaster, it does not seem like many precautionary measures are being taken to avoid the inevitable power outage. What safety measures should be taken? I personally think that the public should be aware of the increased solar activity and warned of the potential hazards, in an effort to eliminate chaos. Furthermore, I think that it is very important for each household to have an emergency kit available with flashlights, blankets, and non-perishable foods.

We can’t control these solar flares, but we can prepare for what they might bring.

Posted
AuthorSandra Lynsdale