The deceptive calm of the sun
Bursts of radiation from our home star can release tremendous amounts of energy. While such extreme solar flares are rare, should they occur, the resulting solar storm could cripple our entire digital infrastructure. At the moment we think we are safe. But the danger is underestimated.
It would be a loss of culture comparable only to the fire in the legendary Alexandria library in 48 BC: All hard drives are suddenly empty, the internet is down, your bank balance is wiped out and your digital identity is lost to the authorities. Smartphones, laptops, electronic door locks, the smart fridge, Alexa and soon also the smart home and your smart car no longer react to your wishes. The fact that even the newer, only digitally stored literature and all digital photos are gone seems almost harmless.
Solar storms do not have a damaging effect on biological life forms. We don't even notice them physically. On the other hand, the electromagnetic influence of the charged particles flowing onto the earth can be all the greater. Although the sun is so far away that even its light takes eight minutes to reach us, it is still so close to us that the space near the earth and the earth's magnetic field in particular are always badly affected by violent eruptions - and sometimes our electronics, which are becoming more and more sensitive in infrastructure and communication structure …