Although it is only recently that solar flares, generated by explosions on the surface of our sun, have become a common topic in today’s world, the main concern remained linked with a potential interference with our electronic devices and communication networks. However, two new solar flares are said by scientists to be so huge that would be able to affect Earth’s weather.
According to an alert from the Space Weather Prediction Center, the sun unleashed two of the most powerful flares. In fact, one of them can easily rank as the most powerful of the year so far. Scientists have ranked it as X5.4 class. Tuesday’s solar storms come only days after Sunday night’s major solar flare.
The major solar flares were noticed by several sun watching observatories, including NASA’s Stereo – B spacecraft and the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Tony Phillips is among those that keep a close eye on these solar storms. He wrote on his website Spaceweather.com soon after noticing Tuesday’s major flares: “First look data from Stereo – B are not sufficient to determine if the cloud is heading for Earth. Our best guess is ‘probably, yes, but not directly toward Earth’”. However, as Phillips points out it is possible Earth’s magnetosphere might be hit March 8th or 9th by the solar storms.
So how should you prepare for an eventual weather change generated by the solar flares? Don’t imagine you’d have to look for shelter. According to scientists, solar flares caused by X class storms can make the auroras look brighter and bigger as the charged particles interact with the planet’s atmosphere. Also, these X rated sun flares also carry the potential of causing interferences with satellite communications and might even cause damages in our power grids.
However, even if the X class solar storms have been called by the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center to be the largest of the current solar cycle, rest assured, these weren’t the biggest to hit our galaxy. Starting with 1859 and the so called Carrington Event, Earth has witnessed flares that have indeed caused interruptions in communications systems. In 1972, AT&T had to redesign its transatlantic cable power system after a major solar flare that made interstate phone communication impossible.