The Sun could collapse the internet during one of its “storms”

Some scientists want to make a predictive model available to NASA. The Sun could collapse the internet during one of its "storms."

The Sun is of course one of the basic prerequisites for life on Earth, but from the star in our System comes some threats as well.

What are solar storms and why are they harmful to humans

These are, for example, solar storms, during which the Sun produces high-energy particles that go to impact the Earth's magnetic field 24 to 36 hours after the ejection of coronal mass.

Sometimes, the outcome of these phenomena can be amazing. In 1989, for example, an electromagnetic storm caused an aurora borealis over the skies of Quebec, Canada, visible as far as Texas, in the South of the United States.

The wind produced by solar storms can, however, have negative consequences for humans: it releases harmful radiation comparable to low-energy nuclear radiation. Not only that. The emission of matter from the Sun's corona also endangers a strategic infrastructure and, for several decades now, crucial to the performance of even the smallest but essential activities: we're talking about the World Wide Web.

How solar storms could put the Internet at risk

Let's start from the escaped threat: in July, experts expected a peak in solar storm activity. The predictions were not wrong, but the wind released by this recent intense phase did not hit our planet. However, the lack of danger doesn't put us safe forever, which is why scientists have attempted to set up a predictive model that can tell us when the internet might be put at risk by solar activity.

Researchers from the University of Sydney and a group of experts in the United States explained that solar storms can be triggered by solar flares, coronal mass ejections or sunspots. In the study titled "Rotation Suppresses Solar Convection on a Giant Scale," published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they attempt to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge about Earth's closest star by devising a method to give NASA and other space agencies the opportunity to predict the most critical moments of solar activity.

"We don't know much about the Sun's interior, but it's extremely important to know more if we want to understand the solar climate, which can have a direct impact on Earth," said one of the study's authors. The next few days will reveal whether the hypotheses of the international team of researchers have any validity.

With regard to astronomical events that we should care about (and, if necessary, worry about), perhaps not everyone knows that the Earth is slowing down, or that the Moon is oscillating along its orbit.

Giuseppe Giordano