Earth in the firing line of solar winds! Geomagnetic storm danger increases

    Dangerous solar winds emanating from the Sun could hit Earth and spark a G1-class Geomagnetic storm soon.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Feb 24 2023, 14:13 IST
    6 TERRIFYING solar storms that blasted Earth in 2022
    Solar storm
    1/6 On June 29, a surprise solar storm struck the Earth. The solar storm was not caused by coronal mass ejections (CME) but by a corotating interaction region (CIR), which opened a hole in the Earth's magnetosphere. It was a G1-class solar storm which is capable of causing shortwave radio blackouts and GPS disruptions. Interestingly, it coincided with the rare five planet alignment event.  (NASA)
    Pink sky
    2/6 Extremely rare pink auroras could be seen on November 3 near Greenland, after a G1-class solar storm slammed into the Earth. Solar storms usually give a greenish hue due to ionizing of Oxygen atoms. However, the CME in this case was able to reach the lower strata of the atmosphere which ionized Nitrogen atoms and gave off the rare pink aura.  (Representative Photo) (Pixabay)
    Solar Storm
    3/6 On November 6, a powerful solar flare which was estimated to be an X-class solar flare caused temporary radio blackouts in Australia and New Zealand. The resultant solar storm blocked all high frequency radio waves making it hard for various emergency services and airlines that use radio communications to operate for multiple hours.  (Pixabay)
    Solar Storm
    4/6 On August 7 and 8, a mysterious phenomenon was seen after a solar storm strike which scientists call STEVE (strong thermal emission velocity enhancement). A gigantic ribbon of purple light followed by a wave of green light could be seen in many parts of North America.   (@KaniskiDylan / Twitter)
    geomagnetic storm
    5/6 A rare double solar storm attack was seen on March 14 when a G2-class solar storm was quickly followed up with another G1-class solar storm. Scientists believe that such multiple solar storm attacks are going to be more frequent in coming days as the Sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle. (Pixabay)
    Solar storm
    6/6 On October 25, the Sun seemed to beam a smile at Earth even as it spewed a stream of dangerous solar particles towards our planet. Multiple dark regions popped up on the Sun that gave an uncanny impression of a smiley face. The resultant solar storm from the event was noted to be a G2-class which is so strong that it is capable of causing fluctuations in electricity grids on Earth.  (SDO/AIA)
    Geomagnetic storm
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    Solar activity is on the rise due to the approaching peak of solar cycle 29. (NASA)

    Despite being only two months into the new year, Earth has already experienced various natural phenomena that have caused significant damage. NOAA forecasters expect dangerous M-class and X-class solar flares to erupt from the Sun today. Moreover, places such as Turkey have been hit by devastating earthquakes, resulting in a massive loss of life and widespread destruction. There has been a high level of solar activity, including solar storms, solar flares, CMEs, and other phenomena due to the incoming peak of the solar cycle.

    NOAA forecasters have now revealed that solar winds have emanated from the Sun and are being hurled towards Earth rapidly. According to a report, these winds could impact the planet on February 26-27 and are gushing out from a coronal hole in the Sun's atmosphere. The report stated, “A stream of solar wind is approaching Earth. ETA: Feb. 26-27. The gaseous material is flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun's atmosphere.”

    When the solar winds impact, they could spark a G1-class Geomagnetic storm soon after, as per the report.

    Dangers of Geomagnetic Storm

    When the Geomagnetic storm hits Earth, the magnetic field lines of the Earth temporarily get disturbed, and it releases extremely high magnetic energy. The energy and heat are enough to ionize oxygen present in the upper atmosphere and turn it into blue-green hues of light, which we know as auroras. Moreover, Geomagnetic storms can disturb, or even destroy, GPS, radio communications, mobile phone connectivity, satellites and even the Internet. Also, they can create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the electricity grids.

    NASA mission to study solar activity

    For better understanding of the rising solar activity, NASA has a mission in place. NASA's SunRISE mission is an upcoming mission expected to launch in 2024 to study and pinpoint how giant bursts of energetic particles originate from the Sun and evolve as they expand outward into space.

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    First Published Date: 24 Feb, 14:09 IST
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