Double solar storms to hit Earth at any moment today! Will it spark an internet apocalypse?

The double solar storms, on the back of two CMEs, are arriving soon and can hit the Earth today, July 8, at any time. Can it cause an internet apocalypse? Find out.

| Updated on: Jul 08 2023, 16:52 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar Flare
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)
Solar Flare
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)
Solar Flare
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Know all about the double solar storm expected to strike the Earth soon. (NASA SDO)

Yesterday, it was reported that a double solar storm strike was expected on the Earth. However, it did not happen. Turns out, the coronal mass ejection (CME) clouds that were moving towards our planet, are moving slower than previously thought. However, the danger is not over! It is likely that it will strike today at any moment. Many are also fearing whether this solar storm strike can cause an internet apocalypse, destroying the internet infrastructure altogether and leaving everyone with dead smartphones.

Dr. Tamitha Skov, a space weather scientist, has posted her 5-day forecast for solar storms on her Patreon account and said, “This week our Sun steps up the activity! We have two solar storms on their way to Earth (which should hit any time now), plus some fast solar wind. In fact we are already experiencing some disturbance ahead of the storms”.

She further added that even after this event has passed, the outlook for the next week is still concerning as both the radio noise and the risk of radio blackouts will increase as sunspot region AR3359 is showing big solar flare potential.

Is an internet apocalypse on the cards?

Many netizens online have expressed concern about whether this double solar storm can take down the internet. In theory, a solar storm can damage the repeaters in under-sea internet cables and block internet connectivity, however, that would take a severe storm with G5-class intensity or more.

The latest prediction for the incoming solar storm is that it is likely to be minor or moderate. Such solar storms can still cause radio blackouts and disrupt GPS signals, although they are not intense enough to affect mobile networks or damage satellites.

So, while there is no risk of an internet apocalypse this time around, these solar storms can cause significant damage. For now, we can just wait and hope for the best.

Know about the NASA STEREO spacecraft

The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) is a pair of twin spacecraft that was launched in 2006 to study the Sun and its effects on Earth. The two spacecraft, STEREO-A, and STEREO-B, are in different orbits around the Sun, which allows them to view the Sun from different perspectives. This provides scientists with a stereoscopic view of solar phenomena, such as solar storms and CMEs.

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First Published Date: 08 Jul, 16:51 IST