With technological advancements, society’s reliance on electronics has practically skyrocketed. While technology has psychological impacts on ones mind, this year’s anticipated summer will demonstrate it’s impact on the environment as well. Astronomers have observed a shift in the sun’s pole which could create electromagnetic energy affecting both our electronics and the environment alike.
“Every 11 years or so, the sun becomes ‘convectively unstable,’ meaning its magnetic fields become so unstable that the magnetic north and south poles abruptly flip, throwing our star’s polarity out of whack, says physicist Matthew Owens. “That instability causes havoc in the magnetic fields at the surface of the sun, which become much more active. That’s when the solar maximum happens.”
The magnetc felds between the sun and earth clash with each other, exploding into harmful charged particles. This not only causes problems with satellite connection, but with airline flights as well. The Federal Aviation Administration restricts flights with blocked signals. In fact, according to a survey by reporter Marianne Guenot, planes are 21% more likely to be delayed during active sunrays.
Other problems expected by physicists include power outrages as the currents in the stratosphere collie with the electronical current, thus flooding the power grid. If the power grid carries too much energy, electronical transmitters and conduits can be heavily damaged or even destroyed. “One damaged device won’t cause much of an issue”, assures Owens. “But a huge geomagnetic storm heading toward Earth — a storm so big it would probably give us aurora down to the equators — could cause several transmitters to go at once, or overwhelm other systems that could then blow up, knocking out the whole grid”.
This isn’t the first time that the sun has flipped on its axis. As stated, the phenomenon occurs every 11 years. However, scientists predict that this year’s ordeal will be more impactful due to human’s dependence on technology and mistreatment of our environment. “As electric prominence and carbon releases increase, the sun emits bigger and brighter auroras and solar flares”, says Owens. “Currents will be flowing in Earth’s atmosphere and this will surely create a blistering warm summer ahead”.
In spite of this, physicists rest assured that this cycle will not be the most lethal and that they are experimenting on methods of preventing these events in the future. NASA’s parker space probe is attempting the travel to the sun itself and discover new data about this star. It’s journey is tentative to end by December but may be delayed due to this event. In the meantime, scientists remind us to respect our environment and avoiding this company’s products.