What danger lies behind the auroras

Recently, auroras have been observed in regions where they usually do not occur. By itself, this phenomenon is completely safe. However, it hides phenomena that really pose a great threat to human civilization.

Aurora. Source: phys.org

Auroras spread around the world

Previously, tourists from all over the world paid a lot of money to see the auroras. These phenomena are called that for a reason, because they can usually be seen only in the northernmost and southernmost regions of our planet. 

However, in recent weeks they have been observed in many countries where auroras usually do not occur. They were even seen in Ukraine. On May 10, they even reached Mexico and South Africa. Experts say that there is nothing terrible about this phenomenon.

However, scientists watch at what is the source of the auroras with special attention. They are generated by high-energy particles that come to us from the Sun and interact with the Earth’s magnetosphere. And this process has not only such safe manifestations as auroras.

What happens on the Sun

Meanwhile, the situation in the Sun is becoming more and more tense. The magnetosphere there fluctuates with an average period of 11 years and now its intensity tends to a maximum, which is manifested in the size of spots on the surface and the intensity of flares near them. 

The last auroras were caused by the most powerful electromagnetic storm since the “Halloween Storms” in 2003. The reason for it has become a spot on the surface of the Sun, 17 times the size of our planet. The most powerful flare near it occurred on Tuesday.

Now this spot is heading towards the edge of the solar disk and the danger from it is decreasing. However, it is expected that in two weeks the sun will turn the same way towards us and the dangerous formation on its surface may not disappear by then. Therefore, the new dangerous flares can be expected.

Dangerous peak activity

The current cycle of solar activity turned out to be more transient and active than scientists thought. They have been waiting in horror for two years to see what its peak will be. According to reports, it has not yet started. Therefore, it is quite possible that new powerful flares can be expected.

Obviously, the recent auroras were not the last this year. However, scientists are not worried about them, but about geomagnetic storms, which can cause powerful spontaneous currents in the power grid that can overload and destroy them. The benchmark here is the Carrington Event. Then telegraphs that were not connected to a current source worked by themselves.

Therefore, scientists expect that new storms can bring not only auroras, but also power outages, similar to those that occurred in 1989 in Canada or in 2003 in Sweden. Since then, the power grid has been significantly improved, but experts are still worried about them.

According to phys.org

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