Solar flares emanating from the Sun are affecting the satellites and they are falling back to Earth. Check details.
There have been frequent reports of the Sun ejecting several solar flames as they go through their 11-year active cycle. These solar flares are proving to be dangerous for the technical infrastructure in the sky. The situation has gotten so bad that scientists are now concerned that satellites are also falling from the sky to Earth due to recent solar activity. According to NASA, for the uninitiated, a solar flare is a rapid burst of radiation that comes from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are the biggest explosive events in our solar system and can last from minutes to hours.
As The Sun reports, we are currently seeing more frequent solar flares, mainly because the Sun is at the beginning of its 11-year solar cycle and in a very active phase. The Sun’s magnetic field goes through a cycle, called the solar cycle, and every 11 years the Sun’s magnetic field changes completely. This means that the north and south poles of the Sun change places. Then according to NASA, it takes about 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to reenter.
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Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the damaging effects of most solar flares, but really powerful ones can have tragic consequences. According to NASA, solar flares and explosions can pose risks to radio blackouts, electric power grids, the Internet, mobile phones, navigation signals, spacecraft and astronauts and satellites.
The impact of solar flares on satellite communications is currently a matter of concern. Sun says the European Space Agency (ESA) is concerned about its Swarm constellation, which measures Earth’s magnetic field. “Over the past five, six years, the satellites were sinking about two and a half kilometers,” ESA’s Swarm mission manager, Anja Ströme, told SPACE.com [1.5 miles] one year. But since December last year they have been diving virtually. The sink rate has gone up to 20 km between December and April. [12 miles] Per year.”
The sinking has coincided with the extreme activity of the Sun and it is generally accepted that satellites battling harsh space conditions will eventually fall back to Earth and burn up. And the current rate at which satellites are falling is a matter of concern, but little can be done about it.