Note on Solar storm

Headline : Note on Solar storm

Details :

Magnetic fields
  • The surface of the Sun is a very busy place.
  • It has electrically charged gases that generate areas of powerful magnetic forces.
  • These areas are called magnetic fields .
Solar activity
  • The Sun’s gases are constantly moving, which tangles, stretches and twists the magnetic fields.
  • This motion creates a lot of activity on the Sun’s surface, called  solar activity.
  • Sometimes the Sun’s surface is very active.
  • Other times, things are a bit quieter.
  • The amount of solar activity changes with the stages in the solar cycle .
  • Solar activity can have effects on Earth, so scientists closely monitor solar activity every day.
  • Few forms of solar activities are:
    • Solar flares
    • Coronal mass ejections
    • High-speed solar wind
    • Solar energetic particles
  • All these solar activities are driven by the solar magnetic field.
  • Sunspots are areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun.
  • These appear dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface.
  • The temperature of a sunspot is still very hot  that is around 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sunspots are relatively cooler because these form at areas where magnetic fields are particularly strong.
  • These magnetic fields are so strong that they keep some of the heat within the Sun from reaching the surface.
Solar Flares
  • These were first known to be occurring in 1859.
  • The magnetic field lines near sunspots often tangle, cross, and reorganize.
  • This can cause a sudden explosion of energy called a  solar flare.
  • More sunspots lead to more frequently occurring solar flares.
  • Solar flares release a lot of radiation into space.
  • Flares are the largest explosive events of our solar system.
  • These are seen as bright areas on the sun and these can last from minutes to hours.
  • Solar flare is seen by the photons (or light) it releases, at almost every wavelength of the spectrum.
  • Flares are also sites where particles (electrons, protons, and heavier particles) are accelerated.
  • Solar flares are sometimes accompanied by a coronal  mass ejection (CME).
  • CMEs are huge bubbles of radiation and particles from the Sun.
  • These explode into space at very high speed when the Sun’s magnetic field lines suddenly reorganize.
  • Solar flares cannot typically be detected by the naked eye from the surface of the earth.
  • The primary ways to monitor flares are by x-rays and optical light.
  • Solar flare activity can vary from several per day to only a few a month, depending mostly upon the overall activity of the Sun as a whole.
  • Solar flares are typically classified as A, B, C, M or X depending upon the degree of their peak flux.
Effects of solar flares
  • Solar flares impact the Earth only when these occur on the side of the sun facing the Earth.
  • Because flares are made of photons, these travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it.
  • When charged particles from a CME reach areas near the Earth, these can trigger intense lights in the sky, called auroras.
  • Radiations released from the solar flare can:
    • Interfere with radio communications on the Earth
    • Disrupt power utility grids, which at their worst can cause electricity shortages and power outages
    • Knockout satellites
    • Effect spark stunning displays of the Northern Lights
  • The Sun is a magnetic variable star at the center of our solar system that drives the space environment of the planets, including the Earth.
  • The distance of the Sun from the Earth is approximately 93 million miles.
  • At this distance, light travels from the Sun to the Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds.
  • The Sun has a diameter of about 865,000 miles, about 109 times that of Earth.
  • Its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth and accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System.
  • About three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium.
  • Less than 2% consists of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, iron, and others.
  • The Sun is neither a solid nor a gas but is actually plasma.
  • This plasma is tenuous and gaseous near the surface, but gets denser down towards the Sun’s fusion core.
Layers of Sun
  • It can be divided into six layers.
  • From the center out, the layers of the Sun are as follows:
    • The solar interior composed of the core (which occupies the innermost quarter or so of the Sun’s radius)
    • Radiative zone
    • Convective zone
    • Photosphere (visible surface)
    • Chromosphere
    • Corona (outermost layer)
  • The energy produced through fusion in the Sun’s core powers the Sun and produces all of the heat and light that we receive here on the Earth.
  • The Sun, like most stars, is a main sequence star and thus generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium.
  • In its core, the Sun fuses 430–600 million tons of hydrogen each second.
  • The Sun’s hot corona continuously expands in space creating the solar wind, a stream of charged particles that extends to the heliopause at roughly 100 astronomical units.
  • The bubble in the interstellar medium formed by the solar wind, the heliosphere, is the largest continuous structure in the Solar System.
Section : Science & Tech