A solar storm is projection to hit Earth early Thursday after the Sun released an effective solar flare — a burst of high-energy radiation –Sunday night.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite caught a solar flare on the Sun launching a coronal mass ejection (CME) around 8: 25 p.m. ET Sunday.
“[CMEs] are huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona,” the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) discussed in a post online. “When CMEs impact the Earth’s magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora.”
TheNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA) provided a G1 (small) geomagnetic storm watch for Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know about solar storms– and how they can affect the Earth– prior to one strikes the world on Thursday.
What is a solar flare?
Magnetic storms on the surface area of the Sun can trigger what is referred to as “solar flares.”
“A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots,” according to NASA. “Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events.”
If the storm is strong enough it will trigger a CME, which is what occurred in this case.
“The strongest flares are almost always correlated with coronal mass ejections,” NASA mentions.
How do solar storms effect Earth?
There are a range of things that could possibly take place.
- Thestorm could increase the brightness and exposure of auroras, likewise referred to as the Southern or NorthernLights “Aurora might show up at high latitudes, i.e., northern tier of the United States such as northern Michigan and Maine,” the NOAA stated in an alert Wednesday
- Regions might see weak power grid variations, though that’s not likely to take place in this “minor” storm.
- Minor damage Earth- orbiting satellites,” specifically those in high, geosynchronous orbits” could happen, NASA states.
- High frequency radio waves could be “degraded,” NASA includes.
- A NASA research study alerts solar storms could puzzle the internal compasses of marine mammals, triggering a boost in strandings on beaches.
“Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive now than in the past because of our greater dependence on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents and energetic particles high in the Earth’s magnetosphere,” NASA describes.
Should we be fretted?
Not actually. This specific storm is catergorized as small, however that does not suggest it cannot affect the Earth.
Solar storms are really quite typical. On average, solar activity increases every 11 years, NASA researchers state, and there’s an uptick in solar flares throughout these cycles.
Fortunately, Earth’s environment and electromagnetic field keep us well-protected.
“Some people worry that a gigantic ‘killer solar flare’ could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth, but this is not actually possible,” NASA discussed in a 2013 post online. “Even at their worst, the sun’s flares are not physically capable of destroying Earth.”
For years, individuals have actually endured solar storms without damage.
“In general, the physical danger is low and controllable,” CNET reported, mentioning the NOAA, after a solar storm struck Earth in March2012 “The biological hazard inherent in solar and geomagnetic storms comes from the exposure to radiation, which is mainly a concern for astronauts and people flying at high altitudes.”
The”explosive heat” from solar flares cannot straight strike our world, however the flares can, nevertheless, trigger lots of disturbances (like the ones noted above).