Solar Flares to Peak, Affect Northern Lights in Iceland Skip to content

Solar Flares to Peak, Affect Northern Lights in Iceland

Geophysicist and candidate in the 2012 presidential election Ari Trausti Guðmundsson discussed solar flares in a radio interview on Reykjavík síðdegis on Monday, stating they will peak in eight months or so. Solar flares cause northern lights, which are visible from Iceland and other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

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Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“Solar flares can have both serious consequences and little consequences. It would be natural for authorities and governments to prepare for something serious happening. You never know what is going to happen,” said Ari Trausti, according to visir.is.

The sun is currently going through a period when the formation of sunspots peaks. Significant energy is charged around these spots.

When it is discharged, sun flares are created, hurling loaded particles into space. These sometimes hit the earth’s surface and can prove hazardous.

“These particles cause northern lights but also disrupt electric signals and waves. Thus they might impact telecommunications, radio, television, the electric system, satellites and possibly astronauts who might find themselves in space,” explained Ari Trausti.

Each sun flare period takes around 11 years and the current one is expected to peak in the coming months.

“It is predicted that in the spring of 2013—in eight months or so—the high point will be reached. Forecasts are being made on the sun’s behavior and some believe it will reach the highest peak since 1958,” stated Ari Trausti.

It is difficult to estimate what impact such powerful solar flares might have on the earth, given that telecommunications have progressed significantly in the past decades.

ESA

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