Written by Madhav, a grade 10 student
A flare is defined as a rapid variation in brightness whereas, on the other hand, a solar flare is an intense burst of radioactive energy coming from the release of magnetic energy, which is present in the sunspots.
Sunspots are darker areas of the sun but during solar flares, these areas become the brighter areas of the sun due to the high energy reactions that take place. Sun flares can last for a few hours to just a few minutes.
What happened recently?
Recently, on the 14th of June, a solar flare erupted from the sun. According to a recent NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) alert, this solar flare could cause a solar storm and a potential blackout
More about solar flares and the sun
- The sun is a celestial body at the centre of our solar system and is 151.89 million km away from the earth
- Hence solar flares do not really harm life on earth but they still cause certain damage
- Solar flares release a lot of energy as they are part of the sun and this energy is absorbed by the upper atmosphere of the earth
- In this scenario, the intense electromagnetic radiation which gets absorbed may hinder communication systems on earth and expel heat which leads to the affected part of the earth becoming warmer for a short duration
- They can also lead to a blackout in the polar regions and northern lights as well
- They also have an impact on artificial satellites as the heat absorbed causes the earth’s atmosphere to expand which leads to increasing drag in the satellites and in turn it having a shorter lifetime.
How to prevent a solar flare?
Solar flares cannot be prevented as easily as other disasters, as they occur naturally on the sun but their damages can be reduced by:
- Preparing for outages by buying a generator, having a battery backup for electronic devices, and keeping emergency supplies
- Small precautions like unplugging all chargers from their charging ports and staying away from electric wires during a solar storm can go a long way
Better Your Child’s G.K. In 3 Minutes – Get This Free Newsletter
Get fun facts, simple and easy news, quizzes, and lots of other interesting things to read in your mailbox – for free! It’s what we call GK-on-the-go!