Scientists warn of solar 'super storms'

Solar flare

Solar flare

During that solar storm, the sun unleashed a series of powerful solar flares that were so powerful telegraph operators' offices experienced a surge in electricity which resulted in some buildings setting on fire. When the solar storm causes a disturbance in our planet's magnetosphere, it's called a geomagnetic storm which can wreak devastation on power grids across the planet.

Solar storms can be far more powerful than previously thought.

The scientists calculate that the storm sent at least 10bn protons per square centimetre into the atmosphere. As such, they may not have good estimates of how often extreme solar eruptions happen or how powerful they can actually get.

"If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our high-tech society", says Raimund Muscheler, professor of geology at Lund University and co-author of the study. 660 BC solar storm was the third major solar storm occurrence to be documented, it could provide more insights on how solar storms impacted Earth in the past.

The find shows that the danger of solar storms has been "underestimated", the researchers say.

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The tell-tale signs were elevated levels of beryllium-10 and chlorine-36 isotopes embedded in the ice, both evidence of chemical reactions kicked off by the Sun's activity reaching through Earth's magnetic shield to the surface.

Since evidence has pointed to three massive solar storms taking place in the last 3,000 years, the scientists plan to explore more ice core samples to better understand these odd phenomenons. Spikes in beryllium and chlorine isotopes indicated that, during the seventh century BCE, the world was rocked by a storm that might be among the strongest ever recorded. The researchers believe that society might not be sufficiently prepared if a similar event were to happen now. 993-994, and the other about A.D. The latter was, to date, the biggest solar event on record.

Regarding number of high-energy protons, the 660 B.C. and the A.D.

The biggest storm in the technological era was the Carrington Event which occurred in September 1859. "Assets in space, including satellites and humans, need to be protected, and even systems on the ground are at risk from large solar events". A new study has chose to analyze ice cores (samples of ice which are recovered from glaciers and zones where the ice is ancient) as they aimed to learn more about the phenomenon and how it can influence the world. "I am sure these are recurring features of the sun and with a systematic search we will certainly find more", Muscheler told Newsweek.

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