Ahead of solar eclipse, fast-moving solar winds to spark a powerful solar storm today on Earth | Tech News

Ahead of solar eclipse, fast-moving solar winds to spark a powerful solar storm today on Earth

Fast-moving solar winds are escaping from a worm-like coronal hole on the Sun and can trigger a major solar storm today on Earth, ahead of the solar eclipse. Check details.

| Updated on: Oct 13 2023, 11:41 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
Solar storm
1/5 Sun is a source of energy and a lot of activities keep on happening on the fireball. But can Earth be impacted by solar activities? Before we tell you that, it is important to know what solar activity is? According to NASA, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles are all forms of solar activity. All solar activity is driven by the solar magnetic field. (NASA)
Solar storm
2/5 Solar flares impact Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth. Because flares are made of photons, they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. (Pixabay)
Solar storm
3/5 Coronal mass ejections, also called CMEs, are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction, and then continue on in that direction, plowing right through the solar wind. Only when the cloud is aimed at Earth will the CME hit Earth and therefore cause impacts. (NASA)
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4/5 High-speed solar wind streams come from areas on the sun known as coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the sun and usually, only when they are closer to the solar equator, do the winds they produce impact Earth. (NASA)
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5/5 Solar energetic particles are high-energy charged particles, primarily thought to be released by shocks formed at the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud plows through the solar wind, high velocity solar energetic particles can be produced and because they are charged, they must follow the magnetic field lines that pervade the space between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, only the charged particles that follow magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will result in impacts. (NASA)
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Know all about the solar storm that can strike the Earth today. (Pixabay)

Yesterday, it was reported that a co-rotating interaction region (CIR) was forming near the magnetosphere of the Earth due to the intermixing of slow and fast-moving solar winds. The situation is set to worsen today, October 13, as fresh solar winds escaping from a worm-like coronal hole will soon strike the Earth and trigger a powerful solar storm event. This event is expected to take place just before the annular solar eclipse occurs in the early hours of October 14.

The information comes from two different sources. First is SpaceWeather.com which reported, “A stream of solar wind is expected to reach Earth later today… The gaseous material is flowing ~500 km/s from a narrow hole in the sun's atmosphere. Its arrival could spark geomagnetic unrest and auroras around the Arctic Circle”.

Tamitha Skov, popularly known as Space Weather Woman, also highlighted the development. In her post on X, she predicted a 50 percent chance of a major storm today at high latitudes and a 15 percent chance of a minor storm at mid-latitude.

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Solar storm to strike ahead of solar eclipse

Unlike CME, this particular solar storm is going to be triggered by solar winds. But make no mistake, these ‘winds' are powerful waves of plasma that are created in the corona of the Sun. They contain both solar particles as well as strong magnetic fields.

These menacing solar winds strike the magnetosphere of the Earth and cause small cracks in it through a process called co-rotating interaction region (CIR) and leave our planet temporarily vulnerable to solar radiation. The solar winds push inside the Earth's magnetosphere and cause scary solar storms without even the presence of CME.

How NASA SDO collects its data

The NASA SDO carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 13 Oct, 11:41 IST