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Geomagnetic storm alert issued! Solar wind may spark a solar storm, stellar auroras around the Arctic Circle

A solar storm is on the cards due to solar wind flowing towards Earth. NOAA predicts a geomagnetic storm to occur soon and auroras emerging around the Arctic Circle.

Updated on: Apr 02 2024, 13:38 IST
A geomagnetic storm may take place on April 4, NOAA forecasters say. (NASA)

In recent weeks, the frequency as well as intensity of geomagnetic storms has increased. This is perhaps due to the approaching peak of solar cycle 25 which is likely to boost solar activity. Thus, we may see more intense and frequent solar storms, geomagnetic storms, CMEs and solar flares. Now, forecasters have issued a geomagnetic storm alert due to approaching solar winds.

Also Read: Total solar eclipse - Check safety tips, ways to watch online and more

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Geomagnetic storm alert

According to a Space Weather report, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have revealed that a stream of solar wind is making its way towards Earth and it may graze the planet’s magnetic field. It is predicted to result in a G-1 geomagnetic storm on April 4. For the unaware, G-1 geomagnetic storms are considered to be minor storms and are weak in intensity. However, they may spark shortwave radio blackouts on certain occasions.

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NOAA also says that the geomagnetic storm is likely to spark auroras. Stellar streaks of light across the sky may be seen around the Arctic Circle, while faint auroras might also stretch as far as the US-Canadian border.

Also Read: X-class solar flare impacts Earth, causing radio blackout over Pacific Ocean

The report states, “NOAA has issued a minor (G1-class) geomagnetic storm watch for April 4th when a stream of solar wind is expected to graze Earth's magnetic field. The storm could cause bright naked-eye auroras around the Arctic Circle, with fainter photographic auroras as far south as the US-Canadian border.”

How do auroras form?

According to NASA, solar particles are released when a solar storm interacts with Earth’s magnetic field. These particles interact with the gases present in our atmosphere and form auroras, which are most frequent in places such as the Arctic Circle, Reykjavik in Iceland and Svalbard in Norway.

Scientists study aurora from multiple vantage points - below, above, and within. NASA missions such as THEMIS investigate what causes auroras to dramatically shift from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of colour from above. Meanwhile, ground-based telescopes and radar look upward to track what’s happening in the sky.

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First Published Date: 02 Apr, 13:38 IST