Aurora Borealis over Alaska: This phenomenon fascinates countless people. Such a sight could soon be reality here.
Tanya von Arxforeign editor
Will we soon see the Northern Lights too? According to a report in the American newspaper Washington Post, this is entirely possible. The reason for this is solar storms.
Most of the time, solar storms make themselves felt on Earth as natural beauties: they light up the air with auroras at high latitudes, where the low Earth’s magnetic field allows them to penetrate deep into the atmosphere.
Spots can be seen on the sun at the moment. This means that the star around which the earth orbits is particularly active. threat of eruptions. The solar wind, consisting of charged particles, reaches the earth in two to four days. For comparison: light only needs eight minutes to travel the distance from sun to earth (approx. 150 million km). In early January there were three X-class flares, the highest on the scale.
From Saturday you can see the Northern Lights
According to space expert Ulrich Walter (68) from the Technical University of Munich, the forecasts in the “Washington Post” should be treated with caution. “The sun has been quiet since Saturday.” So there will certainly be no northern lights until Friday. “It could be beyond that, but it’s rather unlikely – especially here in the middle latitudes.”
However: “A maximum of solar activity is to be expected in 2025,” says Walter. Then there could also be auroras in the middle latitudes. According to Walter, the maximum in 2025 will only be half as strong as the solar activity in the 1950s: “Since then, the intensity of the solar cycles has decreased continuously.” For the last two years, there has been a “very slight turnaround”. “Hence the current excitement,” says the expert.
There are also negative consequences of increased solar activity. The magnetic field normally protects our planet off the poles from the sun’s particles. However, strong solar storms such as now squeeze the magnetic field and electrically charged particles can reach the ground. In the worst case, humanity could be thrown back into the technological stone age.
Already isolated radio failures
According to the Washington Post, there have already been occasional radio failures. According to the experts, satellites can also fail. Last year, a solar storm caused the company SpaceX to lose up to 40 internet satellites. The satellites of the SpaceX program Starlink would enter the earth’s atmosphere and burn up, explained the company founded by technology pioneer Elon Musk (51).
According to space expert Walter, very strong Class X solar flares can cause technical disruptions on Earth – especially in the Scandinavian countries and Canada. That has already happened. “All satellites in space are then potentially affected, but especially those in the so-called geostationary orbit, i.e. communication satellites, including television satellites.”