TECH

Nasa: 'Earth Is Not Doomed' Even Though The Sun Is About To Flip Polarity

16/08/2013 11:00 BST | Updated 16/10/2013 10:12 BST

The Earth is not doomed, Nasa has said.

Well, not from this anyway.

We reported recently about the terrifying-sounding, but actually quite benign news that the Sun will completely reverse its polarity in the next few months.

The phenomenon is nothing unusual, occurring about once every 11 years as the Sun reaches solar maximum.

And it can have an impact here on Earth. Researchers have warned that "stormy space weather" could occur around our planet as the ripples from the magnetic field shift spread through the heliosphere.

But space scientists have now issued a reassuring message that it won't be any more serious - even though it sounds a bit intense.

"The world will not end," Phil Scherrer at Stanford told Space.com.

In fact other researchers say the effect could actually be beneficial.

"One of the things that helps clouds form and lightning to flash is cosmic-ray ionization of things in the Earth's atmosphere," said Todd Hoeksema, director of Stanford's Wilcox Observatory.

"So when the cosmic-ray intensity is lower, it means you have fewer places where lightning will occur, and so the storms will probably be a little less intense."

Nasa has also added that the danger to Earth is essentially zero. Of course, there are lots of other ways we could all be wiped out tomorrow, so don't count your space chickens before they emerge from an asteroid and devour the ocean, or whatever.