As it is known that the aurora borealis which is also known as the real northern lights occurs in the northern hemisphere region of most of the planets including earth. It is formed when the giant cloud of gas that comes from the sun which is known as the coral mass ejection or solar winds or storms collide with the magnetic fields.
Even though this phenomenon has been a stunning and amazing display in the sky which pleases the eye, the solar winds that contributed to their formation have been discovered to be a channel of some havocs. It has been discovered by the scientist. They can stop GPS connections and radio connections. They can even cause power outages which have been experienced in some parts of the world many years back.
The havocs the real northern lights cause?
The little havoc caused by the occurrence of the real aurora borealis often happen when the sun’s magnetic and sunspot cycles reach their peaks allowing solar storms to bombard the earth and solar system with radiations and magnetic fields. Even though the earth’s atmosphere is said to have the ability to protect the earth from the radiation, the solar winds can still do a bit of damage.
Some of the havocs that can be caused by the northern lights are:
- It can shot out satellites and take down cell phones, GPS, the internet, and TV services.
- Power grid can be interupted which leads to overloads, dangerous power surges, and widespread power outages.
- It increases corrosion and breakage of fuel and gas pipelines.
- Communications are also knocked out.
- It confuses electromagnetic gadget and compasses.
Where the havoc has been experienced
The entire province of Quebec, Canada experienced an electrical power blackout on March 13, 1989. The magnetic disturbance from the real northern lights was incredibly intense. It created electrical currents in the ground beneath much of North America. Just after 2:44 a.m. on this date the currents found a weakness in the electrical power grid of Quebec and in less than 2 minutes, the entire Quebec power grid lost power. The solar storm as powerful as the one that happened in Quebec is rare.
On September 1 and 2 the year 1859, one of the largest recorded solar storms occurred all over Europe and North America where the telegram systems failed. It even causes some of the telegraph operators to experience electric shocks. This event is known as the “Carrington Event”.
In Iceland, it was said that power outage was experienced due to the action of the solar wind. It has not been recorded or backed up with any evidence, so the exact time and date is not known. Also, in July 2012, there was a massive solar wind that ripped through the earth’s orbit but we are lucky that it missed us.
But what if a massive solar storm hits the world today? This is a question that needs answers. Today electricity is far more important compared to the year 1859 and 1989. People now solely depend on GPS and satellites. If the solar winds strike the earth today, it can melt the copper windings of transformers that are fixed in the heart of power distribution systems. This can lead to a lot of power outages. In this present world of ours, the power grid has much more grown interconnected over time. So, the effect of the massive solar storms can lead to an outage that can spread both far and wide.
The extent of this effect cannot be estimated. If the lights go off a lot of things will be affected such as the internet, ATMs, gas pump and any other device that draws current from the wall. Medications and perishable foods can also be affected. In short, it can affect every area of life. This power outage could be experienced for a long time and be felt in the whole world.
The real northern lights are amazing but the earth will never wish to experience the bad side of it that can be caused by the solar storm! You can read more here