We orbit a star that makes life possible. We are lucky that it is a stable star in terms of its energy output and behavior.
|A LARGE SUNSPOT GROUP|
Credit: Greg Redfern
But our Sun CAN erupt with an energetic fury that has direct and possibly dire consequences for modern day civilization.
The Sun has caused power outages, aircraft polar route changes, GPS and communications issues.
Fortunately nothing in the 21st Century has happened with our Sun that rises to the level of the "Great Geomagnetic Storm" of May 1921. This was quite the event as you can see from the article.
The Sun had another significant outburst in the 19th Century that is known as the "Carrington Event", named for the astronomer who was the only one to observe it happening. This was the largest solar eruption recorded in 160 years of Sun monitoring and is thought to be a once in 500 year event.
We have to be prepared for the next big solar storm event. NASA and NOAA monitor the Sun constantly and the Space Weather it produces so we should have some advanced warning. Then it will be up to infrastructure points - power, airlines, communications, GPS and other satellites - to take immediate action to avoid damage.
By the way, the 1921 solar storm was a once in a 100 year event.
2020 marks 99 years since 1921......such an event will happen again.
Here are some resources for further information:
Sky Guy in VA
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