Dangerous solar storm to strike Earth on Sunday, reveals NOAA satellite

As per NOAA forecasters, a CME is likely to deliver glancing blows to the Earth sparking a solar storm on Sunday, May 21. Know how that may impact you.

| Updated on: May 19 2023, 08:43 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)
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Know all about the solar storm that is expected to strike the Earth on Sunday. (Pixabay)

Yesterday, it was reported that solar activity is about to pick up with a new giant sunspot coming into Earth's view, which appears to contain a huge amount of unstable delta magnetic charge. But before it can terrorize Earth, we have to face another solar storm threat. Right now, a cloud of coronal mass ejection (CME) is moving towards the Earth, which is expected to deliver glancing blows. It was released after a magnetic filament in the Sun's southern hemisphere erupted. The CME is expected to reach by Sunday, May 21. Check out the details around this incoming solar storm.

According to a report by SpaceWeather.com, “NOAA forecasters say that a CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on May 21st. It left the sun yesterday, propelled by an erupting filament of magnetism in the sun's southern hemisphere. The impact could produce minor G1-class geomagnetic storms”.

Solar storm to strike the Earth on Sunday

Compared to some of the stronger solar storm events that we have seen in the month of May, this particular one is not expected to be too strong. However, even minor storms can cause some serious damage. It can disrupt wireless communications and GPS services, causing trouble for airlines, mariners, ham radio controllers, and drone operators. The solar storm can delay flights, cause ships to change course, and disrupt any important information that is shared through these low-frequency channels.

And even after this storm passes, the threat of the large sunspot still looms over the Earth. The sunspot has already exploded once, causing an X-class solar flare eruption. If a flare similar in intensity goes off again, it can produce a really intense solar storm.

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory's role in predicting solar storms

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 19 May, 08:43 IST