Sometimes, highly energetic particles are produced by our Sun, and they get accelerated by the magnetic reconnection in solar flares or by coronal mass ejections, also known as shock waves. After that, the trajectories along the interplanetary magnetic field lines are followed by such energetic particles. Whether a massive solar storm has hit the atmosphere of the Earth, can be determined by what we mentioned above along with the Sun’s location at the time of the event.
These phenomena are called solar proton events (SPEs), and this threatens modern society in terms of navigation and communication systems, commercial aircraft operations, and space technologies. Ice cores (drilled samples of ice) and tree rings are the natural archives used to record the evidence of such events annually.
Professor Raimund Muscheler from Lund University and his colleagues from Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the United States, and France analyzed ice cores from Greenland in order to learn more about SPEs. What the material proved was that in 591 BC a massive solar storm hit the Earth.
More than 2,000 years ago, a massive solar storm hit the Earth
“If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our high-tech society,” Professor Muscheler said. This event can be compared to the strongest SPE detected at 775 CE, and it is only the third of its kind.
Professor Muscheler explained that they also took part in research that used both the annual growth rings of old trees and ice cores in order to confirm that two other massive solar storms took place. Those storms actually happened in 775 CE and 994 CE, but even though these massive solar storms are known for their rarity, they still are a recurring effect of sola ar activity that happens naturally.
If you want to find out more about this topic, you can search online for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and you will find the topic there.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.