Earth faces Triple-Threat from the Sun! Destructive solar storm could strike us soon

    Three sunspots are coming together on the Earth-facing side of the Sun and they can cause a terrifying solar storm strike on our planet. One of the sunspots, AR3088, became notorious for blasting extremely powerful solar radiation at Venus.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Sep 13 2022, 15:10 IST
    Solar Flare explosion may cause Geomagnetic storms on Earth
    Solar prominence
    1/5 The report stated “Something just exploded on the sun's north-eastern part. On July 31st at 2309 UT, Earth-orbiting satellites registered a long-lasting C9.3-class solar flare; the intensity is probably an underestimate because it was partially eclipsed.” (NASA)
    Solar flare
    2/5 According to the report, debris flying away from the blast site on the Sun was observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). “The explosion is significant because it may herald an active region set to emerge over the sun's north-eastern part later this week. A new sunspot group could bring an end to weeks of relative quiet,” the report further added. (NASA SDO)
    Geomagnetic storm
    3/5 Although Earth was not directly in the line of fire, the solar flares which hurled towards Earth may cause the emergence of Geomagnetic storms. According to NASA, a geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere which occurs when there is a strong exchange of energy from the solar wind in the space above Earth. (REUTERS)
    Geomagnetic storm
    4/5 According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers, there is a chance of a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm on August 3. As per the K-index, which measures the magnetic field around the Earth, solar storms are divided into 5 classes from G-1 to G-5. The G-1 is the lowest impact Geomagnetic storm whereas G-5 is assigned to the most severe storms. (NASA)
    Sun
    5/5 The frequency of solar flares is set to increase in the coming years as the Sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle, likely to be around 2025. This will not only increase the frequency of solar flares and solar storms, but could also potentially Earth systems like power grid and GPS. (NASA)
    Solar storm
    View all Images
    As three sunspots appear on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, how likely is a G5 class solar storm? Find out. (Pixabay)

    The Earth has been luckily escaping the wrath of the Sun even as it ramps up its volatility as it goes through its 11-year solar cycle. Today, Earth stands in a very difficult situation because of these constant solar storms. Some of the strongest solar storms this year were fortunately directed towards Venus and not Earth, with the most recent one coming just the previous week. But now, things are changing and a terrifying time might be coming for our planet as the same sunspot responsible for blasting powerful coronal mass ejections (CME) towards Venus is now coming to the Earth-facing solar disk. And to make matters worse, two other sunspots will be joining it and the dangers of a CME storm have increased manifold. The next few days will be a worrying time for the Earth, according to scientists. Can the strongest solar storm of them all, aG5 class solar storm, hit our planet in the coming days? Read on.

    The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted, “NOAA forecasters say there is a 20% chance of M-class solar flares today, but that may be an underestimate. Sunspots AR3098 and AR3101 are both increasingly active, and old sunspot AR3088 (famous for hammering Venus) is now returning over the southeast limb”.

    The Earth could get struck with a powerful solar storm

    While the two new sunspots, AR3098 and AR3101 are concerning, the biggest threat comes from AR3088. The sunspot has already survived one full rotation of the Sun and has still not dissipated. The highly unstable sunspot has shown its ferocity when it blasted continuous CME bursts at Venus. And if it explodes again now, the Earth would be its primary target.

    The increase in the solar activity as well as the number of sunspots are directly related to the solar maximum phase of the Sun. The phase is part of the Sun's solar cycle where it alternates between extremely high solar activity and very low solar activity in a period of 11 years. Right now, the Sun is moving towards its peak solar activity which is expected to be sometime in 2023.

    The Earth is very vulnerable to these solar storm attacks till then. While the possibility is low, a G5-class solar storm can easily destroy satellites, disrupt mobile network, internet and GPS services and even cause power grid failures.

    These solar storm events are captured by an instrument called magnetometer on the NASA spacecraft. A magnetometer is a sophisticated machine with sensitive parts that measures the strength and direction of the magnetic field in its vicinity. As it does not need to visually observe the solar storm, it is capable of even observing the eruptions taking place on the far side of the Sun.

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    First Published Date: 13 Sep, 15:05 IST
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