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Why we might have more aurora borealis and solar storms

Why we might have more aurora borealis and solar storms

The most vulnerable are metal pipelines They corrode when an electric current passes through them. This is not an immediate effect, but there is a slow build-up of corroded material. This can have a very strong impact on infrastructure, but is very difficult to detect.

Although ground currents are a problem, they are A greater challenge in space. Satellites have a limited amount of grounding, and an electrical surge can destroy devices and interrupt communications. When a satellite loses communications in this way, it is called a zombie satellite and is often lost completely, causing significant damage.

Changes in the Earth’s magnetic field can also affect the passage of light. We may not see this change, but the accuracy of GPS-style location systems can be severely affected because the location reading depends on the time elapsed between the device and the satellite. Increasing the electron density (number of molecules in the signal path) bends the wave, which means it takes longer to reach your device.

The same changes can also affect Satellite Internet bandwidth speed And the planet’s radiation belts. These belts are a torus (a donut-like geometric shape) made up of high-energy charged particles, mostly electrons, and are about 13,000 kilometers away from the Earth’s surface. A geomagnetic storm can push these molecules to the lower atmosphere. There, particles can interfere with transmissions High frequency (HF) radios used in aircraft It affects ozone concentrations.

Auroras are not limited to Earth, many planets have them, and they can tell us a lot about the magnetic fields found in these celestial bodies. A specific device used to simulate the aurora borealis is the “celestial aurora”, which was first developed in the early 1900s by a Norwegian scientist. Christian Birkeland.

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In it, a magnetic ball (representing the Earth) is placed in a vacuum chamber, and the solar wind is simulated by firing electrons at the ball. We have two of these tools at UK universities, and here at Nottingham Trent University I recently helped a student build a device Economic version As a master’s project.