Every few months, we hear about some scary, new theory about how some solar flare is going to bring disaster. The most common one is that there will be blackouts all over the world and that we should avoid going out or… something. But, can solar flares actually do that?
Solar flares can impact Earth resulting in geomagnetic storms, and in turn, geomagnetic storms have plenty of effects here on our planet. However, they are actually pretty common and you probably haven’t even noticed. So far, they have never caused disasters of the magnitude that some scary forwarded email wants you to believe, although it is also hard to pinpoint what they actually do without some serious scientific research.
This infographic from NASA includes the most relevant data regarding geomagnetic storms, including their causes and effects so you can understand better how they work and what exactly their repercussions are here on Earth.
While it is true that they result in plenty of radiation and lots of electricity conduction, it is safe to say there are some other effects that are pretty beautiful and rather harmless. Those who work in aeronautics (especially astronauts) are the most impacted, but they’re also the most prepared. So, next time someone tries to scare you about solar flares, you can feel sure it’s not something to be panicked about and maybe show them this graphic and reassure them everything will be okay!