Solar storm: solar flare may cause some communication disturbances

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    Solar storm is heading towards earth and reports suggest that solar flare may cause some communication disturbances.

    Solar flare is giving a tough time to scientists across the world. Tension is palpable due to assumption that the solar flare may affect communications in many areas, with links of satellites being disconnected for sometimes.

    Though so far the threats have remained mere threats and no damage to communication in any area has been reported, nonetheless scientists are on their toes to ward off and take care of any issue arising out of the solar flare heading towards the earth.

    This is the first time in around seven years when threats to communications from solar flare have become so high. Since 2005 the solar activity has been very low, but now it has started to become active, increasing frequent threats of solar flares.

    Reports suggest that some airlines fearing impact of the solar flare have already diverted their flights from polar routes. A solar flare is an enormous explosion in the solar atmosphere. It results in sudden bursts of particle acceleration, heating of plasma to tens of millions of degrees, and the eruption of large amounts of solar mass. Flares are believed to result from the abrupt release of the energy stored in magnetic fields in the zone around sunspots. There are two types of flares: impulsive and gradual. Impulsive flares accelerate mostly electrons, with some protons. They last minutes or hours and the majority appear near the solar equator. Impulsive flares occur at a rate of about 1000 per year during solar maximum.

    An expert told a newspaper about the latest solar flare “The whole volume of space between here and Jupiter is just filled with protons and you just don’t get rid of them like that”. Another expert while talking about the enormity of flare this time said, “We haven’t had anything like this for a number of years”.

    These flares contain numerous gases and other minerals that are quite dangerous for the life on earth. Gradual flares accelerate electrons, protons, and heavy ions to near the speed of light, and the events tend to last for days. They occur mainly near the poles of the Sun and happen about 100 times per year. This acceleration of solar flare particles to extremely high energies involves all the different elements in the solar atmosphere. Ions of elements such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon, and iron, excited in this way, end up in solar cosmic rays, also called solar energetic particles (SEPs).