We are now entering the 24th solar cycle. A surge in solar activity, 50 times greater than previously recorded, is anticipated. That fact has caused NASA and other space agencies to issue warnings.
The solar wind pushes and stretches Earth's protective magnetic field into a vast, comet-shaped region called the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere and Earth's atmosphere protect us from the solar wind and other solar and cosmic radiations.
Flashes of X-Rays and Ultraviolet rays travel to the Earth at the speed of light arriving in eight minutes. When these rays hit the atmosphere, they cause disturbances in the ionosphere, which then reflects radio signals. Changes in the ionosphere can interrupt short-wave radio transmissions and cause errors in navigational systems.
This has led scientists to believe that solar storms desynchronize our circadian rhythms, also known as our biological clocks. The pineal gland in our brain is also affected by the electromagnetic activity. This causes the gland to produce an excess of melatonin, which is the brain’s built in "downer" that helps us sleep. "The circadian regulatory system depends on repeated environmental cues to [synchronize] internal clocks," says psychiatrist Kelly Posner, Columbia University. "Magnetic fields may be one of these environmental cues."
Psychological effects of coronal mass ejections can result in headaches, palpitations, mood swings, and a general unwell feeling. There is also a noticeable increase in chaotic or confused thinking and erratic behaviors.
From a scientific point of view, it is clear that solar flares can affect our health and cause changes in our mind and body.
Geomagnetic storms – periods of high geomagnetic activity caused by large solar flares – have also been linked to clinical depression.
In 1994, a study was published suggesting a 36.2% increase in the number of men admitted into the hospital for depression during the second week after a geomagnetic storm (British Journal of Psychiatry vol 164, p 403).
"Geomagnetic storms could disrupt body clocks, precipitating seasonal affective disorder and therefore increase suicide risk," as stated by Posner.
The magnetosphere stops most charged particles from entering Earth's atmosphere. However, it is not a perfect solution. Enough solar particles get through the magnetic net to pose a serious hazard to power grids, communication networks and living creatures.
We are normally protected from extreme solar radiation by the earth's atmosphere and magnetosphere. Earth's magnetosphere deflects huge bursts of energy and keeps us from cooking like food in a microwave oven. However, strong solar flares can have a significant impact on degrading the earth's magnetic field, letting the harmful rays through.
The one critical factor that did not operate according to plan in many of the recent severe lightning-strikes was the electrical grounding system, which was supposed to draw lightning away from the structures. The sun has begun to awaken and possibly exhale a massive solar storm on planet earth's electromagnetic field.
The sun supports almost all life on earth via photosynthesis and drive’s earth’s climate and weather. Solar flares have been connected to weather extremes, and powerful lightning storms in recent days.
On March 13th 1989, during the solar maximum of solar cycle #22, the northeast US and eastern Canada experienced a geomagnetic storm as a result of a large solar flare. This disrupted power in Quebec blacking out 6 million people for 9 hours. Like the Carrington event, this also induced current into the lines, causing power surges that melted a transformer in New Jersey. There were also 200 other incidents reported on the North American power grid including a nuclear power plant in New Jersey.
What would happen today if another solar flare, the size of the 1859 Carrington Event, were to hit earth? According to a report by the National Academy of Science(NAS), it could induce electrical currents that would knock out at least 300 main transformers, cutting off power to 130 million people within 90 seconds.
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