An Amazon Prime documentary revealed details about a solar storm that managed to create a disturbance rupture into our planet’s magnetosphere.
The event left Canada in complete darkness for a bit, after the solar explosion short-circuited Quebec’s power plants. Sometimes, sudden flashes of the sun, named solar flares, followed by the release of plasma from the sun’s outer layers, produce a geomagnetic storm that sends out solar wind shock waves to Earth. The waves penetrate the upper layers of our atmosphere, resulting in bright auroras.
Fortunately, these events are not a threat to humanity, since our planet’s magnetic fields protect us. It basically acts as a transparent shield, letting sunlight in, while being resistant to dangerous cosmic rays and deadly particles that hit Earth during solar eruptions. “Step to the Future,” a documentary available on Amazon Prime, discusses what happens during a solar flare and how vital the role of the magnetic shield is. “Without it [the magnetic field], life on our planet would suffer irreversible damages.”
Massive Solar Storm In 1989 Left Canada In Complete Darkness
One of the best examples of this phenomenon is the solar storm that took place on March 13, 1989, leaving Canada in darkness for nine hours, after short-circuiting the Hydro-Quebec electricity transmission system. Without the magnetic field, the damage would have been much worse.
An exception to the rule is the Aurora Borealis. It consists of particles from solar winds that managed to pass through the magnetic shield.
After 1989, many companies upgraded their systems to prevent other such incidents from happening. Even more, the 1989 solar explosion also caused damage to one of NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery’s sensors and The Australian Army’s radio communications equipment. Starting with 1996, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite, a project of NASA and ESA, has been monitoring solar eruptions and geomagnetic storms.