What is the real danger from geomagnetic solar storms?

They can be dangerous to our technologies, but they can produce spectacular phenomena too
Photo: Featured photography
14/10/2017
16:33
Mexico City
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Geomagnetic solar storms produce spectacular phenomena, such as the northern lights (aurora borealis) at high latitudes, yet they can be dangerous to our technologies, since they can generate radio wave disturbance and momentary interruptions in technological systems, however Juan Américo González Esparza, Coordinador of the Mexican Space Weather Service (Servicio de Clima Espacial México abbreviated SCiESMEX) of the Geophysics Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México abbreviated UNAM), assured that these phenomena occur frequently and it practically remains unnoticed by the population.

According to the researcher, since the atmosphere of the Sun is in continuous expansion-it is surrounded by a stream of energized, charged particles, primarily electrons and protons, flowing outward from the Sun and through the solar system (solar wind)-there are a series of variations in these particles that sometimes can affect the Earth's magnetic field.

The affectations may cause variation in compasses and even magnetometers may measure disturbances, but it certainly goes unnoticed for the population.

The Mexican Space Weather Service coordinates the information exchange between the International Space Environment Services (ISES) and the general public. The primary objective of SCiESMEX is to distribute products and local services to the space weather international community by collecting real-time data on the Sun’s conditions, solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere which can affect the operation of technological systems.

Moreover, SCiESMEX provides an automatic warning system to notify of real-time space weather conditions encoded and based on the standard list issued by Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC)/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and provides information on an open-access platform, the Space Weather Repository (Repositorio Institucional de Clima Espacial abbreviated RICE).

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