Dangerous solar storm to STRIKE Earth tomorrow, spark G2-class geomagnetic storm, NOAA says

A powerful G2-class geomagnetic storm can hit the Earth on March 24. It will be caused by a solar storm spewed out by a large hole in the Sun’s atmosphere, NOAA says.

| Updated on: Mar 23 2023, 10:43 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
Solar flare
1/5 Sun is a source of energy and a lot of activities keep on happening on the fireball. But can Earth be impacted by solar activities? Before we tell you that, it is important to know what solar activity is? According to NASA, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles are all forms of solar activity. All solar activity is driven by the solar magnetic field. (NASA)
Solar flare
2/5 Solar flares impact Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth. Because flares are made of photons, they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. (Pixabay)
Solar Flare
3/5 Coronal mass ejections, also called CMEs, are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction, and then continue on in that direction, plowing right through the solar wind. Only when the cloud is aimed at Earth will the CME hit Earth and therefore cause impacts. (NASA)
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4/5 High-speed solar wind streams come from areas on the sun known as coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the sun and usually, only when they are closer to the solar equator, do the winds they produce impact Earth. (NASA)
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5/5 Solar energetic particles are high-energy charged particles, primarily thought to be released by shocks formed at the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud plows through the solar wind, high velocity solar energetic particles can be produced and because they are charged, they must follow the magnetic field lines that pervade the space between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, only the charged particles that follow magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will result in impacts. (NASA)
Solar storm
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Know all about the powerful solar storm expected to strike the Earth tomorrow, March 24. (Pixabay)

On March 21, a report revealed that a terrifyingly large hole had appeared in the Sun's atmosphere that was spewing a powerful solar wind stream. At the time, it was believed that this solar storm could reach the Earth between March 23 and 24 and could cause a powerful geomagnetic storm event. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that the solar winds will reach our planet tomorrow and will result in a G2-class geomagnetic storm, which can have quite scary consequences.

The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted in its website, “NOAA forecasters say that G2-class (Moderate) geomagnetic storms are possible on March 24th when solar wind flowing from a large hole in the sun's atmosphere is expected to reach Earth”. This would also be a good time to be an aurora chaser as these fascinating phenomenons occur courtesy these storms and can sometimes be seen as far south as New York and Idaho in the USA.

Powerful solar storm to strike the Earth tomorrow

While intense auroras are expected, do remember that extremely powerful solar storms, this specific one not being so, can be quite terrifying and can cause a massive amount of damage to wireless communications as well as electronic infrastructure. Such solar storms can potentially damage satellites, break down mobile networks and internet services, cause power grid failures and corrupt sensitive ground-based electronics.

At the moment, the reason behind this unusually large coronal hole in the Sun is not known. While such openings in the Sun's atmosphere are common, the size of it makes it concerning. Normally, solar winds can be quite harmless for the Earth but as a large amount of these super-charged gasses are targeting us, it is expected to cause a G2-class geomagnetic storm.

How NOAA predicts solar storms

NOAA monitors the solar storms and Sun's behavior using its DSCOVR satellite which became operational in 2016. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared. The different measurements are done on temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of the solar particles.

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First Published Date: 23 Mar, 10:42 IST
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