Can Solar Tsunamis Affect Life On Earth?
Solar tsunamis are explosions of gas in the sun. The magnitude of the explosions is so huge that it can release energy equivalent to at least a 100 million hydrogen bombs. Solar tsunamis not only affect the sun’s plane but can affect all the planets in the solar system and the adjacent systems depending on the quantum of energy released.
Though not considered a threat to human life on earth, they have the potential to disrupt all the communication systems across the planet.
Ejections of a Solar Tsunami: The occurrence of solar tsunamis has been attributed to the sun’s magnetic fields.
- A complex theory in physics, but it goes like this. Every celestial body possesses magnetic fields and the sun is no exception. The magnetic fields are comprised of individual magnetic lines of force and each magnetic field has a direction.
- When two oppositely directed magnetic fields come in alignment, they release a huge quantum (energy is released in the form of packets called quanta, according to Quantum Physics) of energy. This phenomenon is called the magnetic reconnection. The magnetic reconnection in sun occurs at particular points called solar arcades (magnetic lines exist on the solar arcade). The energy released is so huge that it spans across the space.
- The energy ejected contains ionic particles constituting of photons, X-Rays, Gamma rays et. Solar arcades exist on the regions known as the active regions on the sun and it is here that these flares and tsunamis occur.
- The occurrence of solar flares usually varies depending on the sun’s activity. When the sun is quiet, there might just be one flare a week and when the sun is really active there can be several occurrences in just one day. Tsunamis are less frequent than flares.
- We know that the revolution period of earth is one year (the time it takes to revolve around the sun in the elliptical orbit). In the same way, the sun completes a cycle in 11 years in The Milky Way galaxy and this cycle has considerable impact on the earth’s atmosphere and climate. Solar flares in the sun are at a peak during the end of one solar cycle and these are determined by the sun spots that are observed during this period (the latest solar tsunami showed around 11 sun spots).
Auroras and Satellite Disruption: The magnitude of solar tsunamis is so huge that the latest one, which was on the 3 August, 2010 spanned around 93 million kilometres into the space.
- Also the energy released during the tsunami travels with high velocities in space and the ionic particles that the wave contains can simply destroy anything that it catches in it’s way.
- Solar tsunamis were first discovered in the year 1997 and scientists ever since have been trying to explore the potential of these tsunamis.
- All the news channels in the first week of the previous month were filled with articles about the solar tsunami that hit earth. According to NASA, the tsunami was blown straight at the earth and they warned nations across the globe about possible satellite breakdowns (which luckily did not happen).
- But, people across the globe got to see auroras or more simply huge flashes of green light in the sky which were nothing but the explosion of the ionic particles in the ejected wave of energy.
- NASA has also predicted one more huge wave of even more larger capacity to strike the earth towards the end of the year 2012. It is believed that the wave which would strike the earth in 2012 could lead to complete communication chaos as many satellites are sure to be destroyed. The last wave was predicted to affect Britain the most with many parts of it suffering blackouts.
Though no human life would be directly destroyed, loss of communication and satellites would unsettle our lives tremendously. Speculations are already on that this could be the beginning of Apocalypse the Mayans predict to take place in 2012, though NASA has not hinted at or declared any such earth shattering incidents to occur.