Solar Flares, how bad can they be?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Blu, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

    Oct 6, 2001
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    A massive solar flare is heading towards Earth after a huge X-class (The largest class) explosion.

    There is a picture with the Earth used as scale to show how big it really is.

    So now I'm wondering if this is something that can fry satellites and take out my newly purchased Sirius radio while we all get the radiation equivilant of a dental x-ray or is it something that we won't even notice?

    For that matter can solar flares be dangerous and actually kill?
  2. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

    Jul 31, 1997
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    Francois Caron
    In terms of human exposure, it's usually not a problem since our atmosphere protectes us from any of its effects. But in space, satellites bear the full brunt of the flares; they have been knocked out by huge flares in the past.

    When I hear about huge solar flares coming our way, that always reminds me of the massive power blackouts the province of Quebec experienced some fifteen years ago.

    When a solar flare hits the Earth's atmosphere, it produces the northern lights we've all heard about, but it also produces something else -- DC current.

    Quebec's power is furnished by huge hydro-electric dams located in remote parts of the province, with huge power lines spread across much of the southern parts. Unfortunately, these lines acted as giant antenna for the DC current being generated in the atmosphere. Hydro Quebec's switching stations at the time couldn't handle DC current invading the AC power lines, and the system shut itself down to protect itself against the stray current, throwing the entire province into darkness.

    Basically, solar flares affect our technology much more than they affect us personally.

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