Solar flare radiation is expected to start hitting the earth as of today, and they can be strong enough to interfere with communication systems, navigation satellites and power grids. The effects may also be seen enhancing the Northern Lights, possibly making them visible from the Northern US.
Solar flares occur when the sun’s magnetic fields short circuit, which causes a large amount of radiation to be released into space.
Monday, three solar flares were released in three different events on the sun. One of the solar flares is a class X, the strongest of all solar flares. The X-rays from these solar flares hit the earth within eight minutes. They travel at the speed of light, but the radiation is in particles take longer and they are due to hit our planet Thursday and Friday.
The radiation charged particles travel the 93 million miles from the sun before they hit the earth and some may have already arrived. Problems with radio communications are already being reported in China, which may be the effects from this radiation.
In years past, radiation from the solar flares have played havoc on earth. In 1972 the state of Illinois had their telephone lines shut down. In 1989 6 million people lost power in Quebec, Canada.
A 30 minute warning is provided by a NASA satellite before the radiation reaches the earth’s surface. Researchers, along with the industries that could realize a malfunction from the radiation are given the warning.
Radiation from solar flares effect on human behavior
It is theorized that the radiation from solar flares plays havoc on human behavior. One study done in Russia showed a correlation between higher incidents of depression and suicide during the time solar flare radiation has hit the earth, according to the website Sunlightenment.
Although there were no moon missions at the time, according to NASA if an astronaut was outside of their space capsule on the moon during the solar flares in January 2005, they would have gotten very ill from radiation sickness. This would not happen on the earth due to the thick atmosphere which protects us from being hit with radiation that is strong enough to cause sickness.
Northern Lights in Connecticut
Connecticut could see the enhanced Northern Lights due to the solar flare radiation tonight and tomorrow night. Although this is just a possibility, NOAA says the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in New England and the Great Lakes are better than other locations, even better than some locations further north. This is due to the weather pattern along with the solar flare activity.
Reference: Fox News live, NASA, Sunlightenment, NOAA forecast for Connecticut