The solar storm could hit the Earth on Thursday: what you need to know

    Abdulaziz Sobh

    0/5 stars (0 votes)


    A solar storm is forecast to reach Earth early Thursday after the sun unleashes a powerful solar flare, a burst of high-energy radiation, on Sunday night.The satellite from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a solar flare in the sun releasing a coronal mass ejection (CME) around 8:25 p.m. ET Sunday."[CME] are huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun's corona," explained the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in an online publication. "When CMEs impact the Earth's magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and improved Aurora."The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA) issued a G1 (minor) geomagnetic alert for Thursday.This is what you need to know about solar storms and how they can affect the Earth before it reaches the planet on Thursday.What is a solar flare?
    Magnetic storms on the surface of the sun can cause what is known as "solar flares"."A solar flare is an intense explosion of radiation that comes from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots," according to NASA. "Flares are the biggest explosive events in our solar system."If the storm is strong enough, it will cause a CME, which is what happened in this case."The strongest eruptions almost always correlate with coronal mass ejections," NASA says.How do solar storms impact the Earth?
    There are a variety of things that could potentially happen.The storm could increase the brightness and visibility of auroras, also known as the Southern or Northern Lights. "Aurora can be visible in high latitudes, that is, the northern level of the US, like northern Michigan and Maine," NOAA said in an alert on Wednesday.
    Regions may notice weak fluctuations in the electricity grid, although it is unlikely to happen in this "minor" storm.Minor damage The satellites that orbit the Earth, "especially those in high geosynchronous orbits", could occur, says NASA.High-frequency radio waves could "degrade", adds NASA.
    A NASA study warns that solar storms could confuse the internal compasses of marine mammals, causing an increase in beach strandings."Geomagnetic storms are more destructive now than in the past because of our increased reliance on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents and energetic particles high up in the Earth's magnetosphere," explains NASA.Should we be worried?
    Not really. Solar storms are quite common. And fortunately, the atmosphere of the Earth and the magnetic field keep us well protected."Some people worry that a gigantic 'killer solar flare' can shed enough energy to destroy Earth, but this is not really possible," NASA explained in a 2013 online article.Solar flares cannot hit our planet directly, but they can, however, cause many interruptions (such as those mentioned above).


    Commenting only available for logged in users