Is It Possible To Catch A Solar Wind?

is it possible to catch solar wind

Solar winds, just like its name implies, are powerful storms, which encompass charged particles from the sun’s outer atmosphere. These particles travel from the sun at about one million miles per hour and then travel throughout the solar system. 

The surface of the sun is blazingly hot at about 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the outside atmosphere, which is called the corona, is over a thousand times hotter than the surface. Besides, this outer region is also incredibly active. 

The corona is so hot that the sun’s gravity is not able to hold it. As a result, this causes particles (mostly protons and electrons) to hurl into space, where it then travels across the solar system in every direction. This flow of particles travelling a million miles per hour is what is referred to as solar winds. 

Solar winds have a great impact on our lives. For starters, it protects the Earth and all its living beings from stray cosmic rays, which may be approaching from somewhere else in the universe. But it is worth noting that the effects can also damage our telecommunications network. The solar storms also pose a threat to astronauts in space. 

How Was The Solar Wind Discovered? 

Eugene Parker was the first to observe the solar winds in 1957. Parker worked as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago. He wanted to do research and answer whether any particles were coming from the sun. Such a fact seemed highly unlikely since the Earth’s atmosphere does not flow into space. Thus, many experts believed that this would be the same for the sun. 

However, Parker began some math and observed that if the sun’s outmost atmosphere was a million degrees, then there had to be some particles expanding further from its surface. This travels extremely fast, a reason why the phenomenon was named solar wind. 

Does The Solar Wind Affect Us? 

The solar wind may sound scary, right? Due to this, we may be eager to know if the wind may have any impact on us. Firstly, we need to understand that the solar wind does not only flow past the earth but the whole solar system as well. Therefore, it does not only protect us but can also be a threat to us. 

The solar wind blankets the solar system magnetically, protecting us all from harmful high-energy particles that may come from somewhere else in the galaxy. But sometimes, this may not be the case. The sun can ‘burp’ and throw heaps of materials called coronal mass ejections into space at an extremely fast speed. If this happened to hit the earth, then the shockwave could damage our communication systems and cause chaos. 

Is It Possible To Catch Solar Wind? 

Many people are wondering whether solar wind can be used to power our planet. One way this can be possible is by using a concentrated laser beam. Unfortunately, that would be millions of miles from the satellite to its target on earth. This would make it difficult for the laser beam to reach earth without losing the energy. So, while it is likely that we can catch solar wind using current technology, saving the energy from the solar wind to earth without losing it in the distance will take more time to figure out.

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