Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

"Past is Prologue" -A Hyper Solar Storm Engulfed Earth in 660 BCE

Luckily though, it was 660BC so that's where we were anyway.

Some 2,700 years ago, a massive solar storm bombarded Earth. They said that depending on the form it took, a repeat could cripple communications.

"If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our high-tech society", says Raimund Muscheler, professor of geology at Lund University.

Leon Golub from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who was not involved in the research, said the findings indicate a storm far bigger than the Carrington Event and hundreds of times larger than anything recorded during the space age.

The sun is constantly sending a stream of charged particles toward Earth via the solar wind.

From time to time, the sun emits massive blasts of radiation and high-energy particles that can make its way towards Earth.

The researchers behind the new, worldwide study led by researchers from Lund University have used drilled samples of ice, or ice cores, to find clues about previous solar storms.

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According to researchers, solar proton events took place in the past, with signs being conserved in ice cores and tree rings.

Other researchers are also working on new protection methods which should be able to shield our sensitive electronics from the harm that can be caused by the high-power particles of a strong solar storm.

Solar storms can be even more powerful than what our measurements so far have indicated - and we're still very unprepared. With their research, the team aims to help people prepare for future giant solar storms, which could shut down global communication systems, air traffic systems, and satellites. The cores come from Greenland and contain ice formed over the past about 100,000 years. We've seen extensive power cuts take place in Quebec, Canada (1989) and Malmö, Sweden (2003) following such events, for example.

The effects of a'super solar storm' on our technological world could be devastating, burning out power stations, cutting water supplies, and leaving satellites dead in the skies.

On the basis of previous events, which have been identified between years 775 and 994, the scientists believe that these outbursts are probably a normal part of the Sun's cycle. "We need to be better prepared", Muscheler concludes.

If you want to find out more about this topic, you can search online for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and you will find the topic there.

The discovery means that in the worst-case scenarios, the risk planning for major space-related weather events had failed to estimate the scale of destruction these powerful solar storms can unleash.

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