Across the globe, the scientific community and governmental bodies are preparing for the threat posed by the potential of a massive geomagnetic solar storm striking Earth. These space weather events have the capacity to cripple vital technology-based infrastructures, and of causing a cascade that could lead to unforeseeable dangers.
Since the birth of modern technology, space weather has been responsible for large scale blackouts, technical faults in deep space exploration missions, and severe interference in flight-control systems for commercial aircraft.
One of the most powerful solar storms in history, known as the Carrington Event, occurred in 1859 and succeeded in disabling the global telegraph system. Whilst the Carrington Event was indeed impressive, humanity has yet to be struck by a truly massive solar storm.
Numerous orbital and ground-based telescopes, such as the Big Bear Solar Observatory, California, and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, are tasked with observing the Sun, and unravelling the mechanisms that create space weather.
The SDO is charged with maintaining a near-constant vigil on our star, and acting as an early warning system for potentially hostile space weather. Alongside providing insights into solar mechanics, the observatory has allowed for the creation of stunning time-lapse videos of our Sun, which work to convey the powerful stellar processes occurring on a daily basis....READ MORE