According to multiple news outlets, a solar storm has hit the earth recently. While Earth has been subject to a few solar storms in the past, this new event could cause quite a bit of trouble. So, what exactly would happen if the earth were suddenly hit by a solar storm? Let’s find out.
Before we go any further, I should clarify what a solar storm actually is. In essence, a solar storm is when the sun shoots off what is known as a solar flare. These solar flares are massive blasts of energy and particles that shoot off directly from the sun’s surface. Usually, these flares blast off randomly into space, but when one is sent in the direction of Earth, that is when we get a solar storm.
So what does this mean for us now?
Well, the last time that Earth was hit by a major solar storm was in 1859, and it is widely known as The Carrington Event. Because of the lack of heavy use of technology at the time, the impact of the storm, while certainly felt, was not as large as it could be today. During the Carrington Event, multiple telegraph papers lit on fire, communication outages were widespread and the northern lights could be seen as far as Cuba. While the storm that is headed our way is by no means anywhere near as large as the storm of 1859, we would still feel its effects. This is particularly due to the fact that we rely so heavily on technology today.
Again, the impact would not be terribly dramatic, but people all over the world would know that something was amiss. The storm will more than likely ignite the Northern and Southern lights and increase their visibility. The storm can also impact power grids and make them a bit weaker. The solar storm could also cause some minor damage to Earth-orbiting satellites, degrade the quality of high frequency radio waves and even confuse the internal travel abilities of multiple marine animals.
It should be note that, although the storm could be a bit of a nuisance, it will not harm human beings. Let’s hope that we never experience another Carrington Event in today’s tech-heavy society.