Dangerous filaments on Sun create fears of solar storms on Earth | Tech News

Dangerous filaments on Sun create fears of solar storms on Earth

A high number of unstable magnetic filaments have been spotted on the Sun which has raised fears of intense solar storms on Earth.

| Updated on: Apr 19 2023, 10:28 IST
Solar Orbites captures solar eruption
Know why the chances of a solar storm strike have increased for the Earth as many magnetic filaments emerge on the Sun. (NASA)

The increase in solar activity is due to the Sun moving closer toward the peak of its Solar Cycle. The Solar Maximum, as it is known, will not be reached till the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. This increased solar activity has resulted in sunspots, solar flares, and CME clouds reaching potentially damaging intensities to the point that they can actually damage our tech infrastructure. To make matters worse, it has also pushed seemingly harmless solar phenomena into destructive forces as well. For example, magnetic filaments have always existed. Yet, recently, a huge number of them have been spotted on the Sun, creating fears of a dangerous solar storm striking our planet.

The information comes from a report by SpaceWeather.com which noted that a new photo taken by an astrophotographer highlighted more than a dozen of magnetic filaments on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. “The most important filament is the extremely long one stretching across the sun's high-northern hemisphere. Parts of it have been exploding for days. With so many filaments on the sun, a geoeffective CME may be just a matter of time”. And it is not just pure speculation. The long filament has already exploded twice on April 15 and April 17, releasing a huge amount of coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud into space.

Magnetic filaments on Sun give a solar storm warning

For the unaware, a magnetic filament is a large plasma and magnetic field structure extending outward from the Sun's surface, often in a loop. These eruptions contain high radiation and are powerful enough to push out CME into space. On April 15, it shot a small cloud of CME toward the Earth. But due to low intensity, it failed to give rise to a geomagnetic storm today, April 19, when the CME made the impact.

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Such filaments can both cause shortwave radio blackouts when they erupt and later cause geomagnetic storms when the CME particles reach Earth. With the intensifying solar weather, such solar storms can damage satellites, disrupt mobile networks, internet services and GPS signals, cause power grid failures and even corrupt sensitive electronics on Earth.

For now, we can only wait and watch whether any of these magnetic filament goes unstable and erupts or not.

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First Published Date: 19 Apr, 10:28 IST