NEW YORK, NY – The activity level in our solar system seems to be picking up!
There is growing concern on Earth about the Sun’s increase in activity. Ill effects could be felt on Earth, promoting top scientists to meet Tuesday and discuss the best ways to protect Earth’s satellites and other vital systems from the coming solar storms.
Solar storms occur when sunspots on our star erupt and spew out flumes of charged particles that can damage power systems. The sun’s activity typically follows an 11-year cycle, and it looks to be coming out of a slump and gearing up for an active period.
“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity,” said Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division. “At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”
It’s no surprise that 21st century societies rely heavily on technology for almost any task. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A major solar storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina, warned the National Academy of Science in a 2008 report.
The bright side of everything is that much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. That’s why preparation and research into the increased activity will be key.