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Sun Emits Solar Winds That Reach Earth Creating Radio Blackouts

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Sun Emits Solar Winds That Reach Earth Creating Radio Blackouts

Solar Flares last week caused disruption for radio signals, satellite transmissions, even the internet.

The sun is at an eleven year energetic peak generating magnetic particles.

Tech professor Steven Robinson said the sun follows a general cycle where the magnetic particles increase from their normal solar winds to solar flares. Robinson said researchers believe this is a kind of resetting that the sun goes through.

“Wrapping a rubber band around a ball, the more you wrap it the more twisted and knotted it becomes,” Robinson said. “That’s what people think happens to the magnetic field of the sun, until eventually it gets so chaotic that it kind of all resets itself gradually. So when it’s all knotted and chaotic that’s when we get a lot of solar activity.”

Robinson said the solar flares create communication issues when they interact with the earth’s magnetic field.  Magnetic particles from the solar flares collide with the magnetic particles from the earth’s field creating radio waves.

Robinson said the waves are strong enough to distrupt antennas and reception which effectively causes blackouts. He said in some cases power supplies conducted over long cables are affected.

“It will not affect optical fiber communications, but at either end of that optical fiber cable you have some electronics,” Robinson said. “And those get affected by it anyway.”

Robinson said the cycle of twisting and releasing power has been going on for the life history of the sun.  He said we did not notice it until the creation of the telegraphic communications.

“Apart from disrupting our communications here on earth, it can affect the satellites we use for communications as well,” Robinson said. “So things like GPS can be affected by these solar flares for exactly the same reason.”

Robinson said after the sun releases energy through the solar flares, it resets and the solar activity goes down to a minimum again.


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