March 10, 1989, there was an explosion on the sun. He ejected a large mass of hot solar plasma into space at thousands of kilometers per second.
In the early morning hours of the 13th, it is a cloud, is properly called "coronal mass ejection," hit us.
The magnetic field of the Earth convulsions, causing a large magnetic storm, which caused power outages, interruptions in communication and somewhere around $ 2 billion in losses.
In 1859, it was significantly more solar storms. Then a single communication system hi-tech was the telegraph. Operators received a shock from their equipment i, in some cases, burned.
If we had another event, as it is today, then the consequences would be enormous. Now we are linked complex communications, energy and transport infrastructure, in a way that affects nearly every aspect of our lives.
Solar activity can go out and turn off the radio communication satellites. Solar induced current may cause malfunctions in electric power systems and increased corrosion in the pipelines.
Enhanced altitude radiation due to solar activity may be a danger to air travel on polar routes. Navigation systems can be broken, and on the ground, rail signaling systems may be affected.
Imagine losing the Internet within a week, or by putting all of their data in the cloud can not be found to connect to it. Until recently we did not have any information about how big solar storm may be different than the 1859 event.
Now we know that the sun can do so much "better" than that.
Although our medieval ancestors would not have noticed the solar activity and solar storms much, except for certain manifestations of radiance, the storm left some environmental signature.
Solar activity changes the intensity of high impact energy of particles in the upper atmosphere. If these particles hit oxygen or nitrogen atoms, they create new elements, some of them are radioactive.
These new elements are carried away down in the rain and snow on the ground. In most places, they simply diffuse away into the soil. However, if these atoms fall on the permanent ice, they will end up trapped in a layer of surface ice.
Then, the next year another layer on top form, and so on, so that the ice cap contains a historical record of solar activity. Scientists have extracted ice cores yield records of solar activity, since the remote historical times.
When we look at these ice core, we can see the annual layering fairly easy, so we can scan the environment for searching for specific elements, considering the layers as we go. By doing this, we can keep track of solar activity back in time thousands of years.
It was found that, although our hi-tech free ancestors never noticed, solar storms have been so much more than anything that we had prior knowledge.
One of them hit the Earth in 660 BC (BCE). Others have taken place in the 775 and 994 CE (AD).
Our vulnerability to bad behavior sun is now at an all time high, so the big question is, when will the next solar storm Supersized? It can be predicted? How much warning will we get?
In Canada, we monitor the sun every day and have a wide range of tools for monitoring the Earth's ionosphere and magnetic field.
We're trying to get a better understanding of the relationship between the fact that the sun rises and what the consequences would be here on Earth.
Working with international partners, our goal is to minimize the sun can do to our modern, technology-dependent lifestyle.
This includes forecasting dangerous solar activity, assessment of its potential impact and the development of tools to mitigate them, and where there is injury, making recovery as quickly as possible.
We will solve these problems, because we have to.
- Mars is in the southwest after dark.
- Jupiter rises around 2:00 am
- Saturn rises around 3:00 am
- Venus is low in the glow of dawn.
- Moon will be New on the 5th.