Using radiocarbon dating, scientists have determined that more than 14,000 years ago, the most powerful solar storm to date occurred. If something similar happened today, the losses would be catastrophic, even difficult to imagine.
In 14.3 thousand years of tree remains found in the French Alps, An international team of scientists has discovered traces of the largest known solar storm.
Researchers used radiocarbon dating to analyze tree rings that had been partially fossilized (turned into fossils). First, they detected a strong signal from radiocarbon, and subsequent analysis of the amount of beryllium indicated the influence of a large number of high-energy particles coming from the Sun that struck the atmosphere.
Radiocarbon is continuously produced in the upper atmosphere through a series of reactions initiated by cosmic rays. Scientists have recently discovered that extreme solar events, such as solar flares and coronal mass eruptions, can also create short-lived streams of energetic particles that occur in less than one year. They can be identified as mutations in radiocarbon production – says the professor. Edward Bard of the Collège de France, author of the publication which appeared in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and the Physical and Engineering Mathematical Sciences.
Scientists warn against this If such an event happened today, it would be a disaster.
Severe solar storms can have a major impact on Earth. Such massive storms could permanently damage transformers in our electrical grids, leading to widespread and widespread power outages lasting months. They can also cause permanent damage to the satellites we all use for navigation and communications. In addition, they can pose a serious radiation hazard to astronauts – explains the professor. Tim Heaton from the University of Leeds.
There are 9 known similar events, recorded in tree rings, when massive amounts of radiation from space reached Earth during the last 15,000 years. Years. This is what Miyake events are called so It is not yet fully understood because it has not been observed directly before. The youngest occurred in 774 and 993.
We also don’t know what causes extreme solar weather and how often it occurs, nor do we have any ways to properly protect ourselves from its effects.
The first direct measurements of solar activity were only made in the 17th century, with sunspot counting. We currently obtain detailed data using ground-based observatories, space probes and satellites. However, all these short-term instrumental observations are insufficient to fully understand the Sun. Measurement of radiocarbon in growing wood, used in conjunction with beryllium found in polar ice cores, provides the best way to understand the history of the Sun’s behavior. – says the professor. cold.
The most powerful directly observed solar storm occurred in 1859 and is known as the Carrington event. Then the telegraphs were destroyed, and the aurora borealis appeared in the sky so powerfully that the birds began to sing, believing that dawn had come.
However, the so-called experts confirm that the Miyake events are much stronger. Radiocarbon analysis is a great way to study Earth’s history and reconstruct key events that the planet has experienced. An accurate understanding of our past is essential if we are to accurately predict our future and mitigate potential risks. We still have a lot to learn. Each new discovery not only helps us answer existing key questions, but may also generate new ones – says the professor. Heaton.
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