On Sunday, a coronal mass ejection (CME) struck the Earth sparking a 15-hour-long solar storm that peaked at G2-class intensity. The impact was so strong that auroras were visible across most of Europe despite it being a moonlit night. As the planet is still recovering from it, NASA models have detected yet another CME that is partially targeting the southern hemisphere of the planet. It can reach the Earth by November 30, and early reports suggest that while the storm is expected to be a minor one, it will still spark auroras at high latitudes.
Dr. Tamitha Skov, a space weather physicist, posted on X and said, “The Sun aims south! A partly Earth-directed #solarstorm launched today. NASA & NOAA agree, a glancing blow is expected early November 30. This one is going mainly south of Earth so minor effects expected. #Aurora possible at high latitudes, #GPS & amateur #radio impacts minimal”.
Unlike the massive hit on Sunday, this one is expected to be a minor storm, only capable of sparking auroras at high latitudes. Skov also posted a GIF of the NASA prediction model that shows that the CME is directed southward of the Earth, and much of it is likely to pass by the planet without touching it.
However, the extreme end of its northern limb can come in contact with the southern hemisphere of the Earth, and trigger a solar storm. However, just because the impact is expected on the south end of the planet, doesn’t mean that its effect, the auroras, will also be limited to the South.
In a reply to a comment on her post, Skov clarified, “No. The dynamics of the Earth's magnetic shield ensures the impact is global. The asymmetry of the impact does make minor differences in some processes that occur, mostly at the front edge of Earth's shield. By far the largest effects will be at high latitudes on the nightside”.
GOES-16, formerly known as GOES-R before reaching geostationary orbit, is the first of the GOES-R series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites operated by NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It was launched on November 19, 2016, and became operational on December 18, 2017. GOES-16 is located in geostationary orbit over the Atlantic Ocean and provides continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth's Western Hemisphere. It also carries a lightning mapper, which can detect both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning. GOES-16 is a vital tool for weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and space weather prediction, including such storms.
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