One profssor at the University of Birmingham is suggesting that the solar minimum COULD cause outages in the solar grid. A worse case scenario could warrant more preparation for potential catostrophic failures coming up.
As our sun’s activity slows and the star gets quieter, scientists’ fears of solar minimum are coming to the forefront. It isn’t the lack of activity that is terrifying those who study the sun, it’s what happens next that worries them all…..
…..Professor Yvonne Elsworth at the University of Birmingham says that the next solar minimum could “be in about two years” but before then, the sun is expected to unleash significantly more radiation towards Earth. She also said that this cycle could mean that a “fundamental change in the nature of the [the sun’s magnetic] dynamo may be in progress.”
And she isn’t the only scientist who believes that this could amount to doom and gloom. Her theory is backed up by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s daily snaps, which have shown a spotless sun for 44 days in a row.
Solar minimums are known to spark lots of cosmic ray activity that can penetrate our atmosphere. These cosmic beams cause “air showers” of particles when they hit our atmosphere. They pose a health hazard to astronauts, and a single stray cosmic ray could cause a satellite to malfunction. As well as wiping out communication systems, a solar blast could down power grids.
A solar minimum means less energy is going to be released from our star in the form of solar flares, but it will mean we have solar winds to contend with.