Solar flares will affect Earth in 2024: what should we expect?

To the solar stormsalso known as flares, are astronomical events that occur due to eruptions on the Sun.

To understand these phenomena, it is essential to understand the functioning of magnetic fields, especially those of the Sun and planet Earth, as well as their effects on the other planets in our solar system.

Sun, Earth and their magnetic fields

The Sun is a huge ball of ionized gas, composed mainly of hydrogen and helium. This mass of gas is in constant movement, generating a magnetic field complex.

The same happens with the Earth, whose liquid iron core generates a magnetic field that protects us from solar winds.

Solar storms occur when there is a disturbance in the solar magnetic field. This disturbance leads to the sudden release of energy in the form of solar flares.

Such rashes They happen when magnetic field lines break, releasing an abundance of energy that propagates through space.

Thus, solar winds are charged particles that accompany these eruptions and can reach Earth.

In 1859, for example, one of the most notable events related to solar storms occurred, known as the Carrington Event.

This event was named after English astronomer Richard Carrington, who made crucial observations of the Sun at the time.

On September 1, 1859, Carrington observed an intense solar flare, which resulted in a large release of energy.

This eruption was followed by a geomagnetic storm that hit the Earth. The impact of this solar storm was significant and had several consequences.

The northern lights and southern lights, normally visible in polar regions, were spotted at lower latitudes than usual.

People at latitudes closer to the equator have had the opportunity to witness these spectacular phenomena.

The event caused disruptions to telegraph lines, resulting in electrical sparks, electric shocks, and even fires in some telegraph offices.

Some telegraph operators were able to send messages even with the lines down, taking advantage of the storm’s induced power.

A new peak in 2024 raises concern

A new peak of storms between 2024 and 2025. Although this may raise concerns about possible impacts, it is worth highlighting that there are defense systems to mitigate the risks.

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Chart of solar storms in recent years – Image: NASA/Reproduction

In the graph provided by NASAit is possible to observe all the peaks since 1985, and every five years we can see the changes in the graph.

We note that the graph ends precisely in 2020 and shows few storms. Therefore, five years after 2020, we may again experience peaks in solar storms.

Satellites and other space infrastructure are equipped with protection mechanisms, temporarily shutting down or adjusting their operations during intense solar events.

Potential hazards include communication interference, damage to satellites and navigation systems, as well as impacts on the electrical grid and, mainly, the possible interruption of power. Internet.

Space agencies and relevant organizations implement security protocols to minimize these risks.

So while solar storms can have significant impacts, existing defense systems offer a layer of protection.

Continuous research and improvement of these systems ensures that we are better prepared to deal with solar events, ensuring the security of our technologies and communications in space and here on Earth. planet Earth.