BEWARE! Earth to get hammered by a dangerous solar storm today as CME clouds approach
A dangerous solar storm can strike the Earth today, April 12, after NOAA forecasters detected a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud heading toward our planet. Know the possible consequences.
Solar storms have returned this week. After a solar flare erupted on Tuesday which resulted in radio blackouts in Australia and the Indian Ocean region, today, April 12, the Earth is dealing with an incoming coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud. This particular CME cloud is not related to yesterday's eruption but a separate solar activity that took place on April 7. As per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters, it is likely to deliver glancing blows to our planet which can result in geomagnetic activity.
The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “NOAA forecasters say that a CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field today. It left the sun on April 7th, propelled an erupting filament of magnetism. Minor geomagnetic storms are possible if/when the CME arrives”.
Solar storm can strike the Earth today
The CME cloud came from a magnetic filament, also known as solar prominence, on the Sun. These are large plasma and magnetic field structures extending outward from the Sun's surface, often in a loop shape. What makes them different from a solar flare is that they can occur outside sunspots and are anchored to the Sun's surface. Prominences can extend thousands of kilometers and can release huge amounts of CME into space.
Luckily for us, the Earth is only expected to get side-swiped by the CME, and will not have to face the full brunt of it. A similar situation occurred yesterday when the Earth escaped the cloud entirely and did not suffer a solar storm. However, if a geomagnetic storm were to occur due to this, it can cause minor damage to satellites, disrupt GPS signals, and cause aurora display in higher latitudes.
Know how NOAA monitors the Sun
While many space agencies from NASA with its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keep track of Sun-based weather phenomena, one that particularly stands out is the DSCOVR satellite by NOAA. The satellite became operational in 2016 and tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmosphere including temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared.
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