Emissions from the Sun create conditions in the Earth that can be very beneficialto the survival of mankind and the planet itself. Without the Sun’s heat and light, the Earth wouldbe a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generatesour weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food andoxygen for life on Earth1. Life as we know it would not be possible without the sun’s presence andits giving off heat and light enabling the underlying networks of life to function the way they shouldbe. However, despite the advantages of energy being emitted, the sun carries an unfavorableeffects that could potentially destroy the Earth and only few know about this—that there are otherless obvious aspects of how the Sun interacts and affects Earth. Ones that are never ever a goodnews.Eruptions explode in the sun’s hot atmosphere, the corona, sending light and highenergy particles out into space. Sun produced these high energy charged particles on the Earthfrom all directions stretching into the deep space.
This activity is termed as solar wind which isdescribed as the endless stream of particles like electrons and protons that the sun constantlyemits. Solar winds are geomagnetic storms formed by these charged particles radiated by theouter atmosphere of the sun (Lee, 2017). It is of paramount importance to know that this powerfulforce of the solar wind interacting with our planet have profound effects on our environment hereon Earth, initially caused by an explosive event on the sun’s coronal mass ejection.
This particularcoronal mass ejection blasted billions of tons of electrically charged particles directly at Earth,inducing electrical charges (Pbslearningmedia.org, n.d.
). This electrical activity can damage ourpower distribution systems. When the sun blasts this plasma into space, it rockets at speedgreater than 450 kilometers per second which is more than a millions miles per hour. It is travelingso fast that it takes about three days for this plasma to reach Earth with several billion tons ofplasma shot out in these explosions.The good news is that as this material races through space, it spreads out and bythe time it reaches Earth, only a fraction of the sun’s plasma impacts the Earth’s magnetosphere.
A region of force field against the highly destructive magnetically charged high energy winds. Notonly Earth has this, but each planet in the solar system has its own magnetic field, which candeflect the geomagnetic effects of solar winds. As these charged particles rain into the ionosphere and upper atmosphere above the poles, they release tremendous amounts of energy as theyreact with the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. This chemical reaction gives those living innorthern and southern latitudes a beautiful yet eerie light show called Aurora Borealis or AuroraAustralis.
But, these particles have effects that aren’t so beautiful. When the Earth’s magneticfield is pushed and pulled by this onslaught of solar plasma, it creates huge power fluctuations.These fluctuations can affect power lines, overloading and damaging power transformers, trippingcircuit breakers and causing anything from flickering lights to widespread and potentially poweroutages. Solar storms also interfere with television and telephone signals, airplane and shipnavigation. And, as the magnetosphere gets pushed and pulled by the impact of solar plasma,massive electrical charges are generated in space where satellites orbit the Earth. This can causea huge electrical charge to build up on the outer surface of satellites. If this electrical chargedischarges inside the satellite, it can cripple or destroy it.
And what about the men and womenastronauts working in space, outside the protective cover of the space shuttle and the spacestation? They could be in grave danger if caught unaware by a solar storm. Not only mustastronauts be concerned about the buildup of electrical charges, but solar storms could bring alot of harmful radiation with them.To that end, magnetic field has a huge role for protecting us and our preciousatmosphere from the dangers of the cosmos, serving as the planet’s invisible superpower towithstand the incessant onslaught of the solar wind and the cosmic rays.