April 16, 2024

What Happens If the Sun Fries Your Electrical Components

We all assume that the ground is, well, the ground. It’s where electrical current is safe to go, and is a given in every home and business installation. But what if the ground suddenly had a current or was not neutral?

“There have been a lot of (solar) flares,” Becker said. “Flares are when the sun brightens, and we see the radiation, and that’s kind of the muzzle flash. And then the cannon shot is the coronal mass ejection (CME). So, we can see the flash, but then the coronal mass ejection can go off in some random direction in space, but we can tell when they’re actually going to head towards Earth. And that gives us about 18 hours of warning, maybe 24 hours of warning, before those particles actually get to Earth and start messing with Earth’s magnetic field.” 

Large blobs of plasma, or superheated matter, fly through space in a CME. A percentage hit the Earth, which distorts our planet’s magnetic field. That third prong on the electric plug, which usually gives excess electrical charges a safe place to go, becomes “like a big electrical circuit.”

“And then you get this kind of insidious thing where you could actually get current from ground,” Becker said. “So everybody thinks, ‘Oh, my computer’s grounded, I’m okay,'” but in an event like this, if you drive inductive currents to the surface of the Earth, it can almost work backwards, and you can end up actually frying things that you thought were relatively safe.”

 

The power grid, satellites, underground fiber optic cable with copper sheaths, navigation and GPS systems, radio transmitters and communications equipment are all vulnerable.

Good Morning: Scientists Warn a Sun Flare Could Wipe Out the Internet for Months

At that point, you probably won’t be reading this post, but you’ll have been warned…

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