Earth to suffer DANGEROUS solar storm onslaught as Sun spits out solar flares | Tech News

Earth to suffer DANGEROUS solar storm onslaught as Sun spits out solar flares

Solar flare eruptions have continued for the second day in a row in a particularly unstable region on the Sun. More solar storms are expected for the Earth in the coming days.

| Updated on: May 05 2023, 11:37 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar storm
1/4 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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2/4 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)
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3/4 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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4/4 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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More solar storms are expected as the Sun goes berserk (Pixabay)

Yesterday, it was reported that a particularly notorious sunspot complex turned unstable and was frequently exploding, resulting in solar flare eruptions. The effect caused a rolling series of radio blackouts on Earth, which was particularly felt over the African continent. We are on day 2, and the explosions do not appear to be slowing down. In fact, one particular solar flare eruption has produced a large amount of coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud, which might hit the Earth. Astronomers have not been able to figure out the trajectory of the CME given the frequency of explosions but it should be clearer in hours to come.

As per a SpaceWeather report, “Reversed-polarity sunspot AR3296 exploded on May 4th (0844 UT), producing an M3.9-class solar flare. The explosion also hurled a CME into space”. It further stated that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is struggling to identify the direction of the CME. “multiple overlapping CMEs flew into space shortly after the explosion. Each CME is debris from a different blast--only one came from AR3296. NOAA analysts have taken a stab at disentangling the storm clouds”.

Solar storm fears rise for the Earth

This situation has created a sense of confusion for astronomers because no one knows whether the CME will miss us entirely, deliver a glancing blow or will hit us head-on. And this is risky because in case it does end up striking us in full force, the result could be another severe solar storm.

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NOAA forecasters have said that we should know in the coming hours but in either case, the Earth should be prepared for a solar storm event on Sunday, May 7. And just how dangerous the event can be? Such solar storms can damage satellites, disrupt mobile networks, internet services and GPS signals, cause power grid failures and even corrupt sensitive electronics on Earth.

Know how NOAA monitors the Sun

While many space agencies from NASA with its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keep track of Sun-based weather phenomena, one that particularly stands out is the DSCOVR satellite by NOAA. The satellite became operational in 2016 and tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmosphere including temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared.

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First Published Date: 05 May, 11:37 IST