CME strikes Earth, sparks solar storm; but it can get worse, reveals NOAA; here is why
A solar storm was sparked on Earth after a CME impact a few hours ago. NOAA claims that the storm can intensify as another CME is on its way toward the Earth. Check details.
It has been said multiple times that the Sun will pick up solar activity as it ramps up to the peak of its solar cycle, but we are finally witnessing the onset of it. Last month was riddled with solar storms and short-wave radio blackouts triggered by solar flares. Now, things are getting worse. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit the Earth a few hours ago and sparked a minor solar storm. While it is not very dangerous, things are going to get worse. The space weather monitoring agency also revealed that another CME is on its way, and it can cannibalize the former to produce a really strong solar storm on Earth later today.
According to a report by Spaceweather.com, “A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 1st at 0021 UT... This could be the first of two CMEs en route to Earth. NOAA forecasters expect a significant Cannibal CME (composed of multiple storm clouds) to reach Earth midday on Dec. 1st, possibly sparking strong G3-class geomagnetic storms.
Solar storm strikes the Earth
The ongoing solar storm is not very notable and apart from triggering auroras in Iceland, not much has come of it. However, a G3 solar storm, as predicted by NOAA, can spell trouble for the Earth.
Based on reports of similar-intensity solar storms over the past two years, G3-class storms were responsible for destroying SpaceX's Starlink satellites after they were trapped in dragged down toward their doom. Canadian oil rigs were also forced to be closed due to a similar storm. Apart from that such storms have also been reported to cause radio blackouts in geoeffective regions.
The actual impact of the storm can only be assessed once the solar storm actually strikes.
NOAA's GOES-16 satellite's Role in solar storm
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. 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.