The sun is our source of light and energy, and it is through the existence of the sun that life is possible on Earth. If the sun did not exist, life would not be able to sustain itself, and no living being would be able to survive. While the sun does provide us with a lot of important light that helps serve our everyday life, there are some harmful by-products that we need to be aware of as well. Along with normal light, infrared radiation, solar radiation, radio discharge, and electromagnetic radiation are all released by the sun as well. Of course, all of these can be harmful if we are exposed to too much sunlight or do not take the necessary precautionary and protective measures against it. This is why this article will help guide you on how you can protect yourself from the harmful impact of solar radiation.
Solar Radiation: What is it?
The first thing we need to do before moving onto the actual protective measures you can take is to first help you realize what solar radiation is and what it entails. A lot of us tend to become intimidated when we hear the word radiation, but do not let the word scare you too much here.
Solar radiation entails daylight, and that is the light we see in our regular days. This is the light that allows the earth to stay at a manageable temperature that allows for the growth and nourishment of all light including humans, animals, plants, and almost everything else. Of course, going out in the sun is not inherently harmful, and in the right amount of dosage, can be healthy for us since the sun is known to be a source of Vitamin D as well.
However, it is important to realize that not all of it is good for us. Given how the sun has a vast structural range, solar radiation can originate from it. This is where we bring our attention to the electromagnetic spectrum, and this comprises of the different waves of lights that are being transmitted from the sun. These light waves continue to vibrate at certain frequencies and these different vibrations in the electromagnetic field end up creating what we know as the electromagnetic range.
This entire electromagnetic range consists of a variety of light waves that are vibrating and traveling at different frequencies. Some of these light waves will have a higher frequency while others will have a lower frequency across the spectrum. If we talk in terms of longer wavelengths, then we have to talk about low recurrence waves which are longer light wavelengths that have a low vitality as well. Some examples of low recurrence waves can include radio waves, radar, and TV. On the other hand, short-wavelength lights usually comprise of high recurrence waves which have a short wavelength and a higher vitality wave as well. High recurrence waves can include bright beams, gamma beams, and X-beams. The vitality of a wave determines the recurrence of the electromagnetic wave in this situation.
As a general rule of thumb, you need to know that longer wavelength and/or lower frequency electromagnetic waves tend to carry less energy compared to electromagnetic waves that have higher frequencies/rates and/or short wavelengths. This explains why bright beams, radiation, and X-beams can be dangerous for us.
The high amount of energy that they carry can end up harming our body because once inside, they can harm our red or white blood cells, impair our DNA and create a lot of potential for disease. This also explains why infrared and radio waves have no harmful effect on us given that they have less vitality.
The normal daylight that we can see, also known as noticeable light, tends to fall in the center of the electromagnetic range. Humans are not able to perceive all of the different light waves that fall on the spectrum, but just because we are unable to see or perceive them does not deny their existence. Different living things can sense different wavelengths of light, for instance, insects are unable to see the visible light that we can see, but they can see the bright light, something we are not able to see, and this helps them know which plants can be visited and which ones need to be avoided.
The Early Dangers of Radiation
It took a lot of time before we truly realized the danger of radiation. After X-rays were revealed, a lot of experiments and tests were carries out by doctors and researches. Their findings were conflicting depending on the patient, be it animal or human. A lot of people ended up experiencing burns and hair loss after getting their x-ray done at first. Scientists and prominent names like Nikola Tesla and Elihu Thomson also experienced burns after dabbling with X-rays. However, many physicists were insistent that X-rays did not cause any harmful results or side-effects and that they were safe. However, thanks to William Herbert Rollins and his work in 1902, he was able to prove that X-rays had the potential to cause serious harm and can even lead to animal, infant, and fetus deaths.
Before the harmful effects of radiation were brought to light, some companies and physicists were trying to promote and sell radioactive substances as a prescription. These products consisted of water containing radium that would be sold as tonics and bowel purge medication that also contained radium.
This is where Marie Curie came in and changed the game. She challenged these radiation-filled treatments that were being sold and knew that the long-term impact of radiation on the human body was still not well-known enough, and she later tragically died because of constant exposure to radiation during her research which led her to develop aplastic anemia. Thankfully radium-contain medicines and items were all removed from the market after multiple instances of bone issues and corruption arose.
Solar Radiation: The ABCs
The light and radiation that comes from the sun allows life to continue on earth and contains our atmosphere. The stream of light that does manage to reach the earth clocks in at a temperature of 5800k and that also serves as the range of the radiation as well.
The solar radiation that affects the world’s surface is comprised of different parts. The sun is a source of radiation, and this radiation emission will eventually disappear into the environment and sky. Albedo in this situation happens to be the extra or excess radiation that gets reflected from the environment, and this all-out ground radiation can be termed as extensive radiation. All radiation, regardless of its type, once at the ground, passes through the air which changes the range of the radiation via retention and dissipation.
Nitrogen, sub-atomic and nuclear oxygen can absorb short wave radiation, so they effectively block any radiation that has a wavelength <190 nm. When the atomic oxygen absorbs the short wave bright radiation, it goes through the process of photodissociation which helps in the creation of the ozone layer.
The Ozone layer can maintain a longer wavelength which falls in the 200-300nm range, and the slim ozone layer can absorb ultraviolet light that goes up to 280nm. The process of environmental dissipation helps to shape the ultraviolet (UV) edge of the solar range. Carbon dioxide, water fumes, and oxygen are all able to retain a range that is close to infrared, and other particulates, especially water beads or mist concentrates can help to change the range of the radiation that does manage to reach the ground, and all of this is what happens for our sky to appear blue.
Changes in The Terrestrial Solar Spectrum
As the air around us begins to change, the ingestion and dispersion levels will change as well. Mists can play a vital role here since they can affect direct radiation. Changes in the patterns and the thickness of the ozone layer can affect the level of bright light that enters via the earthbound level. The time it takes for the radiation to reach ground level does tend to change throughout the day, and this does not imply that solar radiation levels in-ground becomes zero at night and is at a higher positive power charge during the day, but the range of the radiation does change during daytime and nighttime. When the sun is overhead, all direct radiation that reaches the ground can go straight through the environment.
The solar radiation that does reach the surface of the world will continue to fluctuate and change depending on the geographical area. Several factors like the time of day, the condition of the ozone layer in that area, overcast spread and, solar movement and turn can all affect the frequency of solar radiation.
Thanks to environmental degradation, the greenhouse effect, and global warming, the ozone layer has slowly gotten damaged and solar radiation is beginning to become a bigger problem, and this is evident through the rise of sun-damage related issues and diseases, especially skin cancer.
Scientists have been scrambling to find a solution, and currently, the entire world is examining renewable energy. Solar energy is currently the most researched and advocated type of renewable energy, and a lot of companies and countries are lobbying for it.
You should also consider looking into means you can shield yourself and your home from the harmful effects of solar storms and solar flares.
Addressing Solar Storms
The sun is a huge ball that comprises of attractive fields, a variety of superheated gases, and a bunch of explosions that are constantly happening on its surface.
Now and then, without any warning, the weight within the sunspots builds up and then explodes out from the sun. This phenomenon is better known and understood as CMEs (coronal mass ejections) or in more common terms, solar flares.
These solar storms or flares can release a lot of radiation and waves that can end up affecting electrical gadgets, and affect our crops, and us directly. Thankfully, the earth’s environment can protect from a significant amount of this radiation, however, solar storms can still do some damage to us, and this can include affecting our tech gadgets and PCs, affecting our Internet and satellite which in turn can affect our TV and GPS, put pressure on the electrical grid which can lead to either power surges or blackouts, both of which are dangerous, affect electromagnetic materials and compasses. It can also affect the radio, which can in turn affect correspondence, and cause the Northern lights to appear in our sky.
You need not get too alarmed since solar storms, flares and other such occasions are not a common occurrence. However, in case there is a solar storm or tempest in your area, you want to make sure that you, your loved ones, and all of your electrical and electromagnetic gadgets are safe. You needn’t worry too much, but at the same time, it does not hurt to stay prepared. You can install a box known as a Faraday shield, and its setup is pretty simple all you need is a cardboard box that is covered or wrapped with aluminum foil. You can take all of your electronic gadgets and materials, put them inside the cardboard box (making sure that they are unplugged and turned off), and then cover the rest of it with aluminum foil. If you care about this on a home level, then you can get radiation-protecting metalwork done on your house to be extra careful. However, this can be a little excessive, and we would strongly recommend doing a lot more research on the subject before you make your decision because you could end up wasting your money on something that is not even needed right now.
Yes, we should all be aware of the dangers of solar radiation and we want to be sure that we are taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our belongings, but at the same time, it is important to remember that solar storms or flares that can affect our technology are a rare occurrence, so you do not have to go overboard yet.