Question: When a solar storm hit the magnetic feild, do we have to turn off any electronic devices to prevent it from shutting down and never combing back on?

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  1. Dear Epicrocket; I think you know the answer already. Better be safe than sorry!
    In fact, we are advised to turn off the electronic devices and take the plug out from the socket at the time of thunder and lightening.


  2. I would yes!

    But….I’ve actually read up on this and NASA is predicting that the earth will be hit by a MAJOR solar storm end december this year! They are afraid that the entire world will be without power (or internet or phone communication etc). They reckon it could even take 6 months or more to recover from this!

    But I’m sure we’ll here about it in the news closer to the date….just keep an eye out for it or check NASA’s websites.


  3. Great question epicrocket. I did some reading on this when I was answering your first solar storm question last week. I searched online for the effects we think a solar storm would have, whether these are related to the way an electro-magnetic pulse would work, and then used my best judgement about whether the people writing this information were accurate. I’ll add a few websites throughout that can help with this question, so that you can have a read and make up your own mind!

    If there was a large scale solar storm coming, it would probably be wise to unplug electronics, remove batteries and so on, because of the risk of blowing the transistors and transformers. A transistor is a device used to amplify (make bigger) or switch electrical signals and power, and you find them in everything which uses power. If you blow a transistor, you can sometimes get them replaced, but often the surge that happens when it blows will cause lots of irreparable damage, especially to computers!

    Now, this might not actually save electrical devices if the solar storm was sufficiently large. In the past, large solar storms have caused black outs by causing overloads to power grids, and there have been reports of currents being produced in power lines that were so strong, they made the electrical poles catch on fire (! That sort of charge could occur in anything with an electrical circuit, and the current moving through something like a computer could do a lot of damage! However, most damage from the size solar storms we have seen in the past would have more effect on power stations than your average family home, and fixing these could take quite some time. It’s a bit like an EMP that you might see in action or sci-fi movies.

    I read the NASA webpage pretty closely too, but I have a slightly different interpretation to the reading to what Natasha mentions above. From what I read, I took it to mean that some people predict there will be a big solar storm in 2013, but according to NASA, even though there is a ‘solar maximum’ around that time, meaning there will be lots of sunspots, and chances of flares, it doesn’t look like there will be a big, highly destructive storm ( Thankfully, NASA has plenty of satelites in orbit that keep an eye on what is going on with the sun, so we should get at least a few days warning to batten down the hatches!



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