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Scientists predict solar storms coming are so powerful they can cripple the internet for weeks

Gerrard Kaonga

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Scientists predict solar storms coming are so powerful they can cripple the internet for weeks

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Scientists have warned that upcoming solar storms could be so powerful, the internet across the world could face issues for weeks.

If the internet goes down for a couple hours at home it can be quite a hassle and is often made worse if you need to use it urgently.

So you can imagine this hassle would be amplified tenfold if internet connections across the planet went down or experienced any major issues.

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Unfortunately, this isn’t the plot of an underappreciated B-tier Netflix thriller but an actual possibility according to scientists who have been studying the Sun’s solar activity.

Every 11 years the Sun goes through a phase known as a solar maximum, where the surfaces begins to display dark spots. These dark spots shoot violent explosive energy to the planet and are caused by a change to the Sun’s magnetic field.

The sun goes through a phase known as a solar maximum where the surfaces begins to display dark spots. Credit: NASA/WireImage
The sun goes through a phase known as a solar maximum where the surfaces begins to display dark spots. Credit: NASA/WireImage
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NASA has predicted the next solar maximum will begin in late 2025 - however, a new study led by Dr. Dibyendu Nandi, a physicist from the IISER Kolkata Center of Excellence in Space Sciences in India, has predicted an early 2024 solar event.

“[It is] not possible to predict the intensity and consequences' of solar storms this early, but we should learn more as the new year approaches,” he said when speaking to the Mail Online.

“The most intense storms can sometimes result in catastrophic orbital decay of low Earth orbiting satellites and disrupt satellite-based services such as communications and navigational networks.”

So that could mean disruption from many of the technological tools we use every day.

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A major and intense solar storm could mean disruption for many of the technological tools we use every day. Credit: Andy Lyons
A major and intense solar storm could mean disruption for many of the technological tools we use every day. Credit: Andy Lyons

“Of course, they also create beautiful auroras so we can expect 2024 to be a good year for aurora hunters,”

Well I suppose there wouldn’t be a better time to appreciate the night time sky than when the internet is done.

Nandi went on to say that predicting exactly when the most intense solar storms could occur can be challenging.

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He explained why his study and NASA’s conclusion differ as well as clarifying that individual solar cycles can vary in length from nine to 14 years.

So, 11 years is 'a mean periodicity, implying this is determined by averaging the individual periods of all observed solar cycles in the modern era.'

Topics: News, NASA, Space, Technology

Gerrard Kaonga
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