Solar storm 2013 heading towards Earth – any danger?

Last Updated: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 14:05

Zee Media Bureau/Shruti Saxena

New Delhi: A solar storm that erupted from the sun on Tuesday is blasting billions of charged particles towards Earth at a mind-boggling speed of 3.3 million kilometre per hour.

Called coronal mass ejection or CME, it occurs when the sun’s magnetic field becomes so entangled that it "snaps", releases an enormous amount of energy.

How dangerous are solar storms?

The most important fact first: Solar storms cannot harm us as we’re protected by Earth’s blanket of atmosphere.

The most powerful of solar storms can disrupt satellites in orbit or create disturbance in telecommunications and navigation systems.

They also have the potential to affect power grids – a solar storm had caused power failure in Québec in March 13, 1989.

The largest known solar flare took place on August 28, 1859. It was recorded by Richard C Carrington; hence it is sometimes called the Carrington Event.



First Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 14:05

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