Solar flares are one of the biggest threats facing our planet today, according to theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, who fears a potentially damaging solar flare.
When a large solar flare and associated coronal mass ejection (CME) erupted from the sun in 1859, charged particles from the star wreaked havoc on Earth. The Great Solar Storm, officially known today as the Carrington Event, highlights the potentially catastrophic effects of our Sun on Earth.
The solar storm knocked down telegraph systems across Europe and North America, caused telegraph poles to sway and caught fire in some offices.
And NASA reported that Aurora Borealis has been reported as far south as Tahiti.
And if another solar storm of this magnitude strikes our technology-dependent world today, it is more than likely that civilization will be pushed to the brink of an abyss. We hardly missed one of these storms in the summer of 2012.
On July 23 of that year, a CME, or cloud of plasma, escaped from the sun at a speed of 3,000 kilometers per second.
CME crossed Earth’s orbit, but a team of researchers later concluded that it was one of the strongest solar storms in recorded history. According to Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado, the storm was probably stronger than the Carrington event.
One of the scientists who warned us about the dangers posed by solar activity in 2012 is Dr Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and pioneer of string field theory.
The physicist, who teaches at City College in New York, appeared in the Big Think video to discuss “the issue of catastrophic solar flares.”
“If you look at the record, and go back to 1859, that’s the famous Carrington event,” he said.
He explained that a repeat of the Carrington event today would flip the weather satellites, the Global Positioning System (GPS), telecommunications and the Internet.
The damage will be catastrophic in a world that relies heavily on our ability to communicate with people around the world in the blink of an eye.
A 2013 report, for example, estimated that the economic cost of such a storm in the United States alone would range from £ 0.43 trillion to $ 1.87 trillion ($ 0.6 trillion to $ 2.6 trillion).
Dr Kaku said, “The power plants will be at risk. The cooling will stop working maybe for weeks at a time. There could be riots over food. Ordinary and simple business transactions will be stopped because you cannot make a credit card transaction because phone wires have stopped. Society as we know it.” It will probably return a hundred years to the past. “
This does not mean that another Carrington-level storm will strike us anytime soon.
But the events of 1859 and 2012 should serve as a good reminder that we are often at the mercy of those elements, especially cosmic ones.
For the most part, the planet was lucky enough to dodge most of the sun’s throw into space.