Most powerful solar flare in decades – Blackouts and Health Issues

Most powerful solar flare in decades – Blackouts and Health Issues

The solar flares that ravaged were reported as one of the most powerful ones in the last decade. The last solar flare that was almost this magnitude happened in 2006.

What are solar flares?

A flare is defined as a sudden, and intense variation in brightness. They occur when built-up magnetic energy is suddenly released. Radiation is emitted across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays at the short wavelength end. The amount of energy released is the equivalent of millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time!

What are the effects of the solar flare?

High-frequency radio went through blackouts and there was no contact for 60 minutes. The SWPC reported high-frequency radio experienced a wide area of blackouts, loss of contact for up to an hour over the sunlit side of Earth, and low-frequency communication, used in navigation, was degraded for an hour.

 

It has been proven that solar storms are linked to whale strandings. What is still unconfirmed is how it is affecting people and their health. NASA claims this solar flare is not strong enough to do any damage, but people report headaches nightmares and such. It has also been said to increase anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. One explanation for the correlation is that solar storms desynchronize our biological clock. The pineal gland in our brain is affected by the electromagnetic activity. This causes the gland to produce excess melatonin, and melatonin is the brain’s built in “downer” that helps us sleep.

Follow News Hour 24 for more on disruptive powers of the solar storm.