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September 22, 2021

Could a solar storm wipe out civilization as we know it? with Michelle Thaller
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2012 was supposed to be an apocalyptic year according to the Mayans. Although the world never came to an end, in 2012, something else happened that had astrophysicists worried - the earth barely avoided catastrophe as a massive sun storm erupted.

Sun storms happen more often than we think, with protons and electrons traveling past the earth at a speed of one million miles per hour. If these particles and solar storms are responsible for the unliveable climate on Venus and Mars, why has Earth not been impacted yet?

Earth is rarely impacted by the sun's solar storms because of the strong magnetic field that surrounds the planet, protecting from solar wind. Although this magnetic field does a great job at protecting the earth and everyone on it, all around experts are monitoring space weather, in the event of a big storm that could head the way.

Read the video transcript: bigthink.com/videos/solar-wind


About Michelle Thaller:
Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. She is Assistant Director of Science Communication at NASA. She went to college at Harvard University, completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif. then started working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Spitzer Space Telescope. After a hugely successful mission, she moved on to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in the Washington D.C. area. In her off-hours often puts on about 30lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.


Read more of the stories on solar wind and storms:
How to detect “stealth” solar storms before they destroy the society
►► bigthink.com/hard-science/stealth-solar-storms/
Massive ‘space hurricane’ made of plasma rained electrons over North Pole
►► bigthink.com/hard-science/space-hurricane-discovered/
A supernova blast may have caused a mass extinction 359 million years ago
►► bigthink.com/the-past/devonian-supernova/


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