BEWARE! Terrifying solar storm is set to blast Earth today; Know the dangers

As per NOAA forecasters, an extremely powerful solar storm is headed for the Earth today, May 11. Know how strong it is and what we should expect from it.

| Updated on: May 11 2023, 13:21 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
1/5 The Sun is the largest object in our solar system and is a 4.5 billion-year-old star – a hot glowing ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of the solar system. It is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth, and without its energy, life as we know it could not exist here on our home planet. (Pixabay)
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2/5 The Sun’s volume would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it. Its gravity holds the solar system together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest bits of debris in orbit around it. The hottest part of the Sun is its core, where temperatures top 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). The Sun’s activity, from its powerful eruptions to the steady stream of charged particles it sends out, influences the nature of space throughout the solar system. (NASA)
3/5 According to NASA, measuring a “day” on the Sun is complicated because of the way it rotates. It doesn't spin as a single, solid ball. This is because the Sun’s surface isn't solid like Earth's. Instead, the Sun is made of super-hot, electrically charged gas called plasma. This plasma rotates at different speeds on different parts of the Sun. At its equator, the Sun completes one rotation in 25 Earth days. At its poles, the Sun rotates once on its axis every 36 Earth days. (NASA)
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4/5 Above the Sun’s surface are its thin chromosphere and the huge corona (crown). This is where we see features such as solar prominences, flares, and coronal mass ejections. The latter two are giant explosions of energy and particles that can reach Earth. (Pixabay)
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5/5 The Sun doesn’t have moons, but eight planets orbit it, at least five dwarf planets, tens of thousands of asteroids, and perhaps three trillion comets and icy bodies. Also, several spacecraft are currently investigating the Sun including Parker Solar Probe, STEREO, Solar Orbiter, SOHO, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Hinode, IRIS, and Wind. (Pixabay)
Solar Storms
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Know all about the solar storm which is expected to strike the Earth later today. (Pixabay)

On Tuesday, it was revealed that a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud was released during a powerful solar flare eruption over the weekend. This flare was a part of multiple such eruptions that took place over a period of three days when a sunspot complex turned unstable and reversed its polarity. The resultant CME is said to be a potent one and is capable of sparking a powerful solar storm on Earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that the storm will hit our planet later today, May 11.

As per a report by, “Strong G3-class geomagnetic storms are possible today, May 11th, when a CME is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. At the time, the CME was traveling faster than 1,000 km/s (2.2 million mph). According to NOAA's latest forecast model, the impact should occur on May 11th at approximately 1200 UT. A NASA model predicts 1800 UT”. This means the storm will hit the Earth between 5:30 PM and 11:30 PM IST.

Solar storm to strike the Earth today

Last month, the Earth was struck with a G3-class geomagnetic storm which not only delayed a SpaceX rocket launch but also forced oil rigs in Canada to stop operations due to an increase in static electricity in the environment. A similar storm can cause a lot of damage in theory.

Such storms can do more damage than normal. They can damage small satellites, impact mobile networks, GPS, and even pose a threat to ground-based electronics and power grids by increasing the magnetic potential by huge amounts.

The aurora effect can also be seen much further south than normal. NOAA has predicted aurora show can be seen as far as Oregon, Nebraska, and Virginia.

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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First Published Date: 11 May, 13:21 IST
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