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 OVERVIEW  The Earth’s magnetic shield protects people from the worst effects of solar storms.  Technology, however, is not so lucky.  Solar Storms.

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Presentation on theme: " OVERVIEW  The Earth’s magnetic shield protects people from the worst effects of solar storms.  Technology, however, is not so lucky.  Solar Storms."— Presentation transcript:

1  OVERVIEW  The Earth’s magnetic shield protects people from the worst effects of solar storms.  Technology, however, is not so lucky.  Solar Storms create atmospheric and magnetic fluctuations throughout the whole planet.  These fluctuations can disable satellites, burn out transformers, and take down power grids.  One CME in 1989 left all of Quebec without power for nine hours.  INTRODUCTION  The affects of Solar Storms can be grouped into three main categories:  INTERACTION WITH EARTH’S ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION  INTERACTION WITH EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD  IMPACT ON ORBITING SATELLITES

2  LET THERE BE PUFF!  Interaction with Earth’s Atmospheric Composition Part 1  The radiation pulse from a flare eruption takes 8 minutes to reach Earth.  The Earth’s atmosphere acts like a cushioning shield and absorbs the pulse.  This pulse produces extra ions and electrons within the atmosphere, causing it to puff out.  This increases drag on orbiting satellites.  The extra ions and electrons also degrade radio and GPS signals.  The worse, however, is still ahead.

3 Effects of Solar Storms  AURORA BOREALIS IS CROSSING THE BORDER  Interaction with Earth’s Atmospheric Composition Part 2  Coronal Mass Ejections boost the speed of solar winds.  This boost creates a shockwave of energetic protons.  *INSERT CALCULATION ON SPEED OF CME*  When it reaches Earth, it distorts Earth’s magnetic shield.  The protons then stream down onto the poles.  This creates geometric disturbances like the Northern Lights.  Tiberius Caesar mistook their red glows for a fire in progress and dispatched an army to Ostia in 34 A.D. to inspect damage.  During the 1985 Solar Maximum, the Northern Lights were seen 3 times in Central Mexico

4 Effects of Solar Storms  STOP! HAMMERTIME!  Interaction with Earth’s Magnetic Field Part 1  CMEs pummel Earth’s magnetic field like a sledgehammer a million miles wide.  This hammer upsets the delicate balances of trapped particles in the Van Allen radiation belts and elsewhere within the boundaries of the field  This creates motions of other populations of charged particles within the field, which causes great currents of charged particles to circulate above the Earth like a river over 10,000 kilometers wide.  These invisible rivers alter the geomagnetic field temporarily and produce what are called “magnetic storms”  These storms can disrupt short-wave communications for hours at a time, as well as other types of signals that are used around the planet.

5 Effects of Solar Storms  MAGNETIC STORMS  Interaction with Earth’s Magnetic Field Part 2  In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered that if you were to move a magnet near a loop of wire, electrical current flow would be induced in the wire.  More specifically, it states that the induced current in a closed loop is directly proportional to the time rate of change of magnetic flux through the loop.  For the common but special case of a coil of wire, composed of N loops with the same area, Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction states that  where is the electromotive force, N is the number of turns of wire, and ΦB is the magnetic flux through a single loop.  Exactly the same thing happens when a magnetic storm thunders through the magnetic field, inducing undesirable and often too powerful currents all over the planet.  In August 1972, a 230,000-volt transformer at the British Columbia Hydro- electric Authority blew up due to an intolerably large induced current spike.  In March of 1989, a magnetic storm knocked out the entire power grid in Quebec for 8 hours, affecting millions

6 Effects of Solar Storms  SOLAR STORMS ARE A DRAG  Impact on Orbiting Satellites Part 1  We have hundreds of satellites orbiting the planet that regulate everything from television and phone calls to GPS receivers.  Most of these are in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), only a few hundred kilometers above the surface.  When the atmosphere puffs out, there is an increased drag on orbiting objects.  This added drag is enough to upset the delicate orbit in which these objects are placed and set them on a course that would make them burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.  Before these effects became apparent, they resulted in several such premature demises:  The Skylab went down in 1979 due to a Solar Storm.  The Solar Maximum Mission burned up in early 1990 following the 1989 CME that knocked out Quebec’s entire power grid.

7 Effects of Solar Storms  WORKING AGAINST FRICTION  Impact on Orbiting Satellites Part 2  Following the demises of numerous LEO satellites due to drag, space agencies had to develop methods of preventing similar occurrences in the future.  All planned and current LEO objects have to be periodically reboosted following Solar Storms.  Chief among them is the currently in-progress International Space Station (ISS)  During the Quebec blackout in March 1989, the U.S. Space Command, along with all other space agencies had to recompute orbits for over two thousand objects affected by the momentarily increased air resistance. As mentioned previously, not all attempts were enacted in time and not all satellites were saved.  Despite this, LEO is still considered prime orbital real estate for the latest generations of communication satellites.  It is currently impossible to predict just how much drag will result from solar storms and how they will affect LEO orbits.  This means that all reboosting calculations have to be performed after the storms themselves have passed.

8 Effects of Solar Storms  LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE  Impact on Orbiting Satellites Part 3  There are, however, positive effects that come about due to Solar Storms.  During a time of very heightened solar flare activity, something originally considered very strange happened onboard the ISS: radiation levels dropped.  "The crew of the ISS absorbed about 30% fewer cosmic rays than usual," says Frank Cucinotta, NASA's chief radiation health officer at the Johnson Space Center. "The storms actually improved the radiation environment inside the station.“  The explanation is actually quite simple:  CMEs that hurl their way to Earth contain not only gas but also magnetic force fields, knots of magnetism ripped away from the sun by the rupture of the sunspot.  It is well known that magnetic fields deflect charged particles.  Putting the two facts together; when a CME sweeps past Earth, it also sweeps away many of the electrically- charged cosmic rays that would otherwise strike the planet.  This is known as the “Forbush Decrease”

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