The solar flare could give the Earth a “smash hit” TODAY

Solar flare could give Earth a “smash hit” TODAY – triggering auroras and geomagnetic storms

  • The sun’s solar flare over the weekend could deliver a “smash hit” on Earth
  • Experts have warned that there is a possibility that it could trigger small geomagnetic storms
  • Our star is moving in a particularly active period of its 11-year activity cycle
  • Last month the sun unleashed its strongest solar flare for about five years

A solar flare from the sun over the weekend could deliver a “graze” on Earth and trigger small geomagnetic storms, scientists have warned.

Our star has been experiencing intense activity for a few months and last month unleashed its most powerful solar flare seen in five years.

The sun appears to enter a particularly active period of its 11-year activity cycle, which began in 2019 and is expected to peak in 2025.

Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are powerful bursts of energy that can direct dangerous explosions towards Earth.

Last month’s glow – the strongest in this solar cycle – did not cause any damage to Earth, nor is the last one expected to affect our satellites and the power grid even if it strikes.

A solar flare from the sun could trigger a

A solar flare from the sun could deliver a “graze” on Earth and trigger small geomagnetic storms, scientists have warned. Pictured is an image taken by the Solar Orbiter probe

WHAT ARE CORONAL MASS EXPULSION?

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun.

These clouds can erupt in any direction and then continue in that direction, plowing the solar wind.

These clouds cause impacts on the Earth only when they are aimed at the Earth.

They tend to be much slower than solar flares, as they move more matter.

CMEs can be activated when a storm on the sun’s surface causes a vortex to form at the base of plasma rings protruding from the surface.

These rings are called bumps and when they become unstable they can rupture, releasing the CME into space.

But scientists fear that the sun’s increased activity could lead to potentially dangerous solar weather conditions that could damage power grids, knock out satellites, and damage astronauts and space equipment on the International Space Station.

SpaceWeather.com experts said the latest CME, slightly different from a solar flare, exploded from the sun on Saturday (May 7).

They added that analysts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believed that today (May 10) “could deliver a coup de grace to Earth’s magnetic field.”

‘This is a low confidence prediction. Small geomagnetic storms are possible if / when CME arrives, “said SpaceWeather.com experts.

A minor storm can confuse migrating animals who rely on the Earth’s magnetic field for a sense of direction.

Solar flares, or protrusions, are large structures of tangled magnetic field lines that keep dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the sun’s surface, sometimes taking the form of arc rings.

They are often associated with CMEs which, if directed to Earth, can wreak havoc on our technology.

CMEs only impact Earth when they are pointed in the direction of our planet.

They tend to be much slower than solar flares, as they move more matter.

CMEs can be activated when a storm on the sun’s surface causes a vortex to form at the base of plasma rings protruding from the surface.

These rings are called bumps and when they become unstable they can rupture, releasing the CME into space.

Solar Orbiter is a European Space Agency mission to explore the Sun and the effect our host star has on the solar system

Solar Orbiter is a European Space Agency mission to explore the Sun and the effect our host star has on the solar system

Flare and CME have different effects on Earth as well. The energy of a glow can disrupt the area of ​​the atmosphere through which radio waves travel, which can lead to temporary interruptions in navigation and communication signals.

On the other hand, CMEs have the power to push the magnetic fields of the Earth, creating currents that push particles towards the poles of the Earth.

When these react with oxygen and nitrogen, they help create the aurora, also known as the northern and southern lights.

Additionally, magnetic changes can affect a variety of human technologies, causing GPS coordinates to deviate by a few meters and overload power grids when power companies aren’t prepared.

There hasn’t been an extreme CME or solar flare in the modern world – the latest was the Carrington event in 1859 – creating a geomagnetic storm with an aurora appearing globally, as well as fires at telegraph stations.

Solar storms present a clear danger to astronauts and can damage satellite satellites

Solar stormsor solar activity, can be divided into four main components which may have impacts on Earth:

  • Solar flares: A large explosion in the solar atmosphere. These flares are made of photons that travel directly from the site of the flare. Solar flares strike the Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing the Earth.
  • Coronal Mass Ejection (CME): Large clouds of plasma and magnetic field erupting from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction and then continue in that direction, plowing the solar wind. These clouds cause impacts on the Earth only when they are aimed at the Earth.
  • High-speed solar wind flows: These come from coronal holes on the sun, which form everywhere on the sun and usually only when they are closer to the solar equator do the winds hit the Earth.
  • Solar energy particles: High-energy charged particles thought to be released primarily by shocks formed in the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud passes through the solar wind, solar energy particles can be produced which, because they are charged, follow the magnetic field lines between the Sun and the Earth. Only charged particles following the magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will have an impact.

While these may seem dangerous, astronauts are not in immediate danger of these phenomena due to the relatively low orbit of manned missions.

However, they have to worry about cumulative exposure during spacewalks.

This photo shows the sun’s coronal holes in an X-ray image. The outer solar atmosphere, the corona, is structured by strong magnetic fields, which when closed can cause the atmosphere to suddenly and violently release bubbles or tongues. of gases and magnetic fields called coronal mass ejections

Damage caused by solar storms

Solar flares can damage satellites and have a huge financial cost.

Charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing the Earth’s magnetic field.

Very large rockets can even create currents within power grids and knock out energy supplies.

When coronal mass ejections hit Earth, they cause geomagnetic storms and an enhanced aurora.

They can disrupt radio waves, GPS coordinates, and overload electrical systems.

A large influx of energy could flow into high-voltage power grids and permanently damage transformers.

This could close businesses and homes around the world.

sources: NASA – Solar storm and space weather

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