A photovoltaic storm is forecast to hit World early Thursday after the Sun let loose a powerful solar flare — a burst of high-energy radiation — Sunday night.
NASA’ s Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite television captured a solar flare for the Sun releasing a coronal bulk ejection (CME) around 8: twenty five p. m. ET Sunday.
“[CMEs] are huge explosions associated with magnetic field and plasma through the Sun’ s corona, ” the area Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) explained in a article online . “ When CMEs impact the Earth’ s magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms plus enhanced aurora. ”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA) released a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm watch for Thursday.
Here’ s what you should know about solar storms — and how they can impact the Earth — before one hits the entire world on Thursday.
What is a solar flare?
Magnet storms on the surface of the Sun may cause what is known as “ solar flares. ”
“ A solar flare is definitely an intense burst of radiation from the release of magnetic energy connected with sunspots, ” according to NASA . “ Flares are our solar system’ s largest explosive events. ”
If the storm is certainly strong enough it will cause a CME, that is what happened in this case.
“ The strongest flares are almost always correlated with coronal mass ejections, ” NASA points out .
How do solar storms effect Earth?
There are a variety of items that could potentially happen.
- The storm could increase the lighting and visibility of auroras, also called the Southern or Northern Lighting. ” Aurora may be noticeable at high latitudes, i. electronic., northern tier of the U. S i9000. such as northern Michigan and Maine, ” the NOAA said in an alert Wednesday.
- Regions may observe weak power grid fluctuations, even though that’ s unlikely to happen within this “ minor” storm.
- Minor harm Earth-orbiting satellites, ” especially all those in high, geosynchronous orbits” can occur, NASA says.
- High rate of recurrence radio waves could be “ degraded, ” NASA adds.
- A NASA study warns solar storms can confuse the internal compasses of ocean mammals, causing an increase in strandings on beaches.
“ Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive at this point than in the past because of our greater reliance on technical systems that can be affected by electrical currents and energetic particles rich in the Earth’ s magnetosphere, ” NASA explains.
Should we be worried?
Not really. This specific storm is catergorized as minimal, but that doesn’t mean it aint able to impact the Earth.
Solar storms are actually fairly common. On average, solar activity improves every 11 years, NASA scientists state , and there’s an uptick in solar flares during these process.
Fortunately, Earth’ s atmosphere plus magnetic field keep us well-protected.
“ Some people worry that a gigantic ‘ killer solar flare’ could hurl enough energy to destroy Planet, but this is not actually possible, ” NASA explained in a 2013 article online . “Even at their most severe, the sun’s flares are not bodily capable of destroying Earth. ”
For years, individuals have lived through solar storms without having harm.
“In general, the physical risk is low and controllable, inch CNET reported , citing the NOAA, after a solar storm struck Planet in March 2012. “The natural hazard inherent in solar plus geomagnetic storms comes from the contact with radiation, which is mainly a concern regarding astronauts and people flying at higher altitudes. ”
The “explosive heat” through solar flares can’ t straight hit our planet, but the flares may, however , cause plenty of disruptions (such the ones listed above).