How I See It: Solar flares and our demise!3 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
How I See It is a weekly column by our youngest member, Arav B.
While he writes about all things under the sun, his special interests are technology, science and sports.
We have a problem on our hands and its name is the ‘Sun’. But what’s the big issue if its set to explode in 5 billion years? Well, the sun has been releasing solar flares for millions of years, and if one hits the Earth, I’m sure you can guess what will happen!
If a solar flare is big enough, it will release massive amounts of radiation into our atmosphere. This would warm the planet up at a rapid pace, not to mention billions of deaths from solar radiation.
What are solar flares?
Before we define a solar flare, let’s talk about a sunspot. Sunspots are where the Sun’s surface temperature is reduced, thereby causing its darker colour. When magnetic fields get tangled up over these sunspots, they cause a giant explosion called a solar flare.
But why are we talking about this now? The answer lies below…
In the news: A recent solar flare
Recently, a solar flare ended up making a sun storm that lasted 34 minutes and was classified as one of the most powerful to occur!
Following this, the sun erupted, causing a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). These can bypass Earth’s atmospheric defence against solar radiation. Fortunately, CMEs are very unlikely to hit Earth, let alone any planet. This is because Earth has to be in an exact spot for the CME to hit Earth.
Besides a few radio disturbances due to electromagnetic activity from the flare, there was nothing to worry about. And as for now, a solar flare won’t cause our demise. It would need a badly-timed and badly-placed solar flare or CME to knock us off the face of the Earth.