Danger! Volatile sun hurls massive solar storm towards Earth
NOAA forecasters have warned about a solar storm which could hit Earth soon.
The Sun is currently near the peak of its 11-year solar cycle, which has resulted in frequent solar flares and coronal mass ejections. As the cycle ends, the frequency of these phenomena will decrease. Scientists have been monitoring the sun for signs of increased activity, and have issued a solar storm warning. A minor G-1 class geomagnetic storm impacted the planet just yesterday and we could now see a solar flare emerging from the Sun that could spew out a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) which could hit the planet soon.
NOAA forecasters have revealed that a M4 - class solar flare erupted from the Sun on January 14 which left dark plasma on the canopy of Sunspot AR3182. This debris has carved a path for escape through the Sun's atmosphere and is hurtling towards Earth. The CME could hit the Earth's magnetic field on January 19.
The NOAA report said,” A twist of dark plasma left the sun on Jan. 14th, propelled by a double-dip M4-class solar flare in the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR3182. The debris carved a spiraling path through the sun's atmosphere, a blender-like process that hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. NOAA analysts say the CME could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 19th.”
Just yesterday, a geomagnetic storm hit the Earth. Thankfully, it was a minor storm and was classified as a G-1 class storm. What's shocking about this storm is its approach. Instead of coming in all guns-blazing, this geomagnetic storm arrived stealthily as it was embedded inside a co-moving solar wind stream, hiding some of its usual signatures.
As the CME has not yet hit the Earth, the extent of potential damage cannot be determined yet. However, it is a reminder of the power of the sun and the need for continued research and monitoring to better predict and prepare for these events in the future.
To achieve this, NASA has a mission in place to study the rising solar activity of the Sun. NASA's SunRISE mission, which stands for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, is an upcoming mission expected to launch in 2024 to study and pinpoint how giant bursts of energetic particles originate from the Sun and evolve as they expand outward into space.
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