Rumors that the world’s Internet has been cut off due to a severe solar storm have spread on the Internet, but how true is it?
With many of us relying on internet access on a daily basis for our work, entertainment, and communication needs, the rumor of an internet apocalypse has many worried.
Throughout the month of June, the possibility of losing the Internet spread for months. But this same possibility first came to public attention in 2021 when computer scientist Sangeetha Abdoo Jyoti of the University of California, Irvine, warned of the possibility of a catastrophic solar storm within the next 10 years.
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NASA appears to be taking the risks seriously and has launched the Parker Solar Probe (PSP), which has revealed clues about the sun’s atmosphere after successfully navigating through the strong solar winds generated there.
What is a solar storm and how can it cause the end of the world on the Internet?
A solar storm refers to atmospheric effects seen on Earth that originate from the sun, usually caused by solar flares.
During such storms, a current of the electromagnetic field is directed towards the earth causing the aurora borealis.
NASA believes that solar storms operate in an 11-year cycle with varying frequency. Their intensity can also vary, with stronger geomagnetic storms causing outages in satellite, radio and internet functions.
A geomagnetic storm in 2011 disrupted radio signals in southern China, meanwhile in 1859 a particularly intense storm caused the aurora borealis to appear in skies all over the world.
Should such an event occur today, there could be a global blackout causing disruption for months, with its effects expected to be 20 times that of a catastrophic hurricane due to its impact on the supply chain of essentials such as foods and medicines.
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