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How do they arise and how dangerous are they?

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How do they arise and how dangerous are they?

The NASA space agency repeatedly captures large solar flares with its telescopes. She observed last year that the sun was more active than it had been in a long time. Although the star that forms the center of the solar system is millions of kilometers from Earth, its activities can have an impact on our planet. According to NASA, the consequences of the latest solar flare could soon hit Earth.

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What is a solar flare?

The sun always sends particles and radiation into space, which is also called the particle stream. When this current occurs particularly strongly in an area at times, it is called a solar flare. The sun then throws billions of particles and radiation into space. They move freely through space at a speed of around 1000 kilometers per second.


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How does a solar flare occur?

The sun consists of hot plasma, which in turn contains electrons and ions. There are magnetic fields in the plasma – and when too much magnetic energy accumulates in one area, they bulge out from the sun’s surface. In a very strong magnetic field, so-called tubes are formed that extend into the sun’s atmosphere. When two tubes meet, they release large amounts of magnetic energy. Particles with a lot of energy are thrown out of the sun into space.

What effects can a solar flare have on Earth?

The possible consequence is that the particles and radiation also hit the earth. When this sets phenomena in motion, it is called a solar storm. A classic example of these phenomena are the northern lights: solar storms can deform the earth’s magnetic field and thereby set in motion luminous phenomena that are classically seen in polar regions. Deforming the earth’s magnetic field can also cause parts of the power grid to fail. Solar storms can also cause interference with satellites by blinding the particles. This can cause GPS signals, for example, to be delayed.

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Is a solar flare dangerous for people?

The Earth’s atmosphere and its magnetic field fundamentally protect us from the radiation released by a solar flare. As a result, there is basically no direct danger to people. However, disruptions to our communication signals can pose a risk, for example for air traffic in the polar regions: protection against radiation is weaker there, so solar storms could affect navigation, informs the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. Impacts on power grids usually occur primarily at high latitudes.

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How likely are solar flares to impact Earth?

According to the Max Planck Institute, the probability is generally low. Solar flares happen all the time, but few are powerful enough to hit Earth. In addition, the Sun and the Earth are separated by 150 million kilometers – so the Earth is only a small part of the area that could be affected by solar flares. According to the Max Planck Institute, around two to five severe solar storms occur on Earth within an eleven-year solar cycle, while weaker ones occur more frequently.

How harmful is space for women?

The first woman is expected to fly to the moon next year. Several challenges await you on the journey – in addition to weightlessness, there is also cosmic radiation. What does this do to the female body? Space doctors are still in the dark.

Are we prepared for the possible effects of solar flares on Earth?

At least we have early warning systems. Satellites and telescopes can detect the first signs of an eruption and provide early warning of possible solar storms. NASA emphasized on Friday that the consequences of the recent strong solar flare could affect Earth in the coming days. Especially in risk areas such as the polar regions and at high latitudes, one should be prepared for the risk of disruptions to the power grid and communication signals. For air traffic in the polar regions, the Max Planck Institute advises avoiding routes in these areas as a precaution during strong solar storms.

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