A huge solar flare that scorches all the electronics on Earth and takes us back to the Stone Age sounds like the plot of a bad science fiction movie – but it can happen. Fortunately, protecting electronics from solar flares and electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) is very simple.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on high-tech equipment, and you can even have everything you need sitting in your kitchen. But if you want to take out your wallet, there are cheap, reliable, EMP-resistant containers on the market. In this article, we will look at how the sun can cook your favorite technology and the science behind its cessation.
What is solar flare?
Solar flames are explosions that release heat, light and massive radiation on the surface of the sun. They also generate electromagnetic pulses. Smaller flames occur quite often, and the largest, the “X Class solar flames,” occur about ten times a year. Damage caused by Class X torches is usually limited to radio outages, but a particularly bad torch fired at the right time can cause great damage.
Occurs when parts of the sun’s magnetic field intersect and rapidly rearrange. This reconstruction can cause the sun to emit large amounts of heat, light and radiation. It is also possible to throw a mass of corona, a giant explosion of solar wind plasma, capable of throwing billions of tons of solar material into space at a speed of hundreds of kilometers per second.
Scientists can predict solar flares before they occur, and when they do, it will still take time for the UAV to reach Earth. So, if you pay attention to the news, you will probably receive a warning that the torch is on the way. Then you need to get your sensitive, expensive technology from a safe place.
The sun’s glare is strong enough to interfere with the Earth’s magnetic field. Thus, compass readings can be dimmed by up to 10 degrees, and auroras will appear brighter and more southern than ever. During the Carrington event, the auroras were visible as far south as Columbia and were bright enough to read the newspaper underneath.
How do sunburns heat up your technology?
Although most of the EMPs generated by the sun are too small to cause damage, a large flare can be a pulse large enough to destroy electronics on Earth. EMP contains a bunch of charged particles; When these particles touch a conductive object, they distribute this load to that conductive object, creating a current in the part of the circuit that should not be active, or overloading the power line.
The electronics are designed to work in a certain way, and the main problem is that there is no electrical load. Components can be fried and the wires can melt when overloaded.
This Happened Earlier
A major solar flaw had previously destroyed electronics around the world. The Carrington incident, the largest solar storm in history recorded in 1859, disrupted the world’s telegraph systems. There were widespread reports of wire sparks, telegraph operators being struck, and electric fires occurring. Due to the amount of power that the sun shines on the lines, some operators were able to send messages via telegraph system without closing the batteries.
Electronics are now more widespread than they were in the 1850s. Experts predict that the modern Carrington incident could cause trillions of dollars in damage and leave major population centers without electricity for weeks.
Although Carrington is the worst hurricane ever recorded, severe storms are very common – about once every three years. There have been six “extreme storms” in the last 150 years, some of which have caused damage. The last storm occurred in 1989 and destroyed part of Quebec’s power grid within nine hours. In 2012, a mass of crowns strong enough to be considered a super storm narrowly escaped the Earth.
Faraday cages are your friend
As early as the 1800s, the English scientist Michael Faraday did a lot of advanced work on electromagnetism. One of his most notable achievements was the development of the concept of the electromagnetic field. He also invented a cover that would protect everything you put inside from electromagnetic radiation. This cover is known as the Faraday cage.
The Faraday cage not only protects your belongings from EMPs and solar flares. It also prevents electric currents, so you can use it to protect sensitive devices in static voltage environments. This works because the electricity will always take the easiest way to the ground. It is easier for an electric current to move on the edge of a high-conductivity cage than to pass through a less conductive air or insulated layer inside it.
In this video you can see Faraday’s cage at work:
No matter what you decide to use as a Faraday cage, you need to test it before you trust it to protect something you value. The Faraday cage is simple to test. Take something that requires a signal, such as a phone or radio, put it in a cage, and then see if it still receives a signal. If you can’t make a phone call or the radio doesn’t receive anything other than static, your cage works.
There are many Faraday cages on the market
Although it sounds like a piece of high-end scientific equipment, Faraday’s cages are very easy to catch. Big retailers like Amazon and Walmart keep a wide range of Faraday bags with the cheapest samples selling for less than $ 10.
Most of the Faraday bags you will see are simple bags, but if you want something you can use every day, there are also backpacks, sports bags and laptop bags. Keep in mind that the Faraday cage will also block the phone signal, so do not put your cell phone in one while waiting for a call.
You Can Create It Yourself
If mass-produced Faraday bags and cages do not suit your imagination, it is not difficult to make them yourself from scratch or turn household items into Faraday cages. Making yourself is as easy as making a frame out of wood, wire, or an object thrown like a bird’s cage and wrapping it in a thin metal net. Copper and aluminum are the best metals for your net, but steel chicken wire will also work.
You can also buy a piece of Faraday – a piece woven into a conductive mesh. Faraday fabric can be used to line a box, bag or even a room and turn it into a Faraday cage. If you have a favorite laptop bag or backpack, but want it to offer an extra degree of protection for your devices, consider sewing on a Faraday fabric lining. One thing to keep in mind is that Faraday’s cages also block radio signals. So if you put your phone in a bag, pocket or purse covered with Faraday cloth, do not wait for calls or messages.
Aluminum foil can be used to make a Faraday cage. For a disposable cage, you can place the device on an insulating layer like a plastic sandwich bag, then wrap it directly with foil. If you want to use your foil several times, you can use it to line an envelope or similar bag, and then place another envelope or bag inside it to create an insulating layer. In both cases, the foil should cover the device without any holes or gaps.
Your devices are not Faraday cages
To some extent, any metal box will act as a Faraday cage, so you may want to keep your technology in an ordinary oven or microwave. Unfortunately, this will not always work. While an oven or microwave may offer some degree of protection, they are not close to the perfect Faraday cage and will not provide the level of protection you need.
While looking for a way to stop criminals from remotely deleting data on seized phones as evidence, the Massachusetts Police Department turned to commercially available microwave ovens. If the department’s justification blocks the microwave, it must block the telephone signal. They tested several microwave ovens and found that they were wrong (and that they were wrong about microwave ovens blocking their microwaves).
You can still have an impressive Faraday cage at home. Everything designed to block RFID signals will use a Faraday cage. So, if you bought a backpack, box or purse that offers RFID protection, you already have a functional Faraday cage. If you do not have a Faraday bag in hand and want to push, you should go for aluminum foil and sandwich bags.
What else can you do?
This is a great place to start monitoring news sites and reports from agencies such as the Space Weather Forecasting Center, NASA and the European Space Agency. If you don’t plan to keep your laptop and cell phone in a Faraday bag 24/7, you need to know when the sunshine will come. Sunlight can also increase the amount of electricity flowing through the grid, so the installation of surge protectors can provide additional protection, in addition to protecting against more common events such as lightning strikes and network failures.
Even if you protect everything in your home, there is a chance that the power grid will be dismantled for a while. Therefore, it is a good idea to buy a backup generator and prepare for a long power outage by storing water, canned or dried food for two weeks. Energy agencies closely monitor solar forecasts and make adjustments to minimize damage if necessary, so it’s less likely to be a big problem, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.