publish date 2022-03-11 09:23:43
A team of experts has issued a warning about a solar storm that may hit Earth, after the sun shot a huge ball of plasma in the direction of our planet.
Coronal mass emission (CME) occurs when the sun spews out a cloud of charged particles and electromagnetic fluctuations.
The coronal mass ejection that passes near Earth today was triggered by the sun into space three days ago, through “strands” of interlocking magnetic fields on the surface of our star (the sun). Preliminary predictions indicate that the next solar storm may trigger the so-called G1 geomagnetic storm, which is the weakest category of solar storms.
The US Space Weather Prediction Center did not issue a warning, as the impact of the coronal mass ejection on Earth is expected to be very small.
Experts at spaceweather.com explained: “The coronal mass ejection will pass close to Earth and could deal a quick blow to our planet’s magnetic field. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for the possibility of auroras appearing when the coronal mass ejection arrives.”
The natural light of the aurora borealis and aurorae appears when particles from the solar wind excite atoms in Earth’s upper atmosphere, causing them to glow.
The aurora borealis are light shows that follow the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field, and appear in different colors depending on the atoms that are stimulated.
The two main gases in Earth’s atmosphere are oxygen, which emits a green light, and nitrogen, which appears in blue, pink, and violet.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of which the Space Weather Prediction Center is a part, used the five-point G scale to classify geomagnetic storms.
A G1 storm can have minimal effects on satellite operation and low power grid fluctuations.
In contrast, more powerful G5 storm events can severely affect satellite operations, causing surges that disrupt power networks and disrupt high-frequency radio communications for days on end.
Fortunately, G5 solar storms typically occur only about four times in each 11-year solar cycle.
A coronal mass ejection in September 1859 caused the strongest geomagnetic storm on record, a storm that scientists refer to as the “Carrington event.”
According to a study presented at SIGCOMM 2021, a major solar storm like the Carrington event can paralyze the Internet for weeks.
Astrophysicists predict that there is a 1.6 to 12% chance that a solar storm strong enough to cause catastrophic disruption to modern society on Earth will strike in the next 10 years.
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