G1-class Geomagnetic storm set to hit Earth as NOAA warns of cannibal CME

NOAA experts have warned that there are chances of a G1-class geomagnetic storm soon.

| Updated on: Jul 16 2023, 16:52 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar storm
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 storm
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)
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Earth is facing the possibility of being hit by a G1-class geomagnetic storm on July 18, space experts have said. (Pixabay)

NOAA has warned that the progress of Solar Cycle 25 has surpassed scientific predictions, indicating a notably greater number of sunspots and solar storm eruptions than initially predicted by experts, and that forecast may not be very good news for Earth. The cycle began in December 2019 along with a significant surge in solar activity. Over a period of time, we have witnessed numerous dangerous solar storms striking Earth.

Recently, on July 14th, the most visually dramatic eruptions of Solar Cycle 25 occurred on the surface of the Sun emitting dark plasma from the Sun's southern hemisphere, a SpaceWeather.com report revealed. Surprisingly, this explosion originated within the magnetic canopy of AR3370, a previously hidden and subtle-sized sunspot. One of these coronal mass ejections (CME) escaped the Sun on July 14, "followed by a second faster CME on July 15th," the report added. Now, NOAA has warned that this CME is all set to hit Earth soon!

Impact of CME on Earth - Geomagnetic Storm

NOAA has warned that a G1-class geomagnetic storm is likely to hit Earth on July 18. "According to a NOAA model, the second CME will sweep up the first, forming a 'cannibal CME' that hits Earth on July 18th," Space Weather report suggested.

What is a cannibal CME? NASA explained exactly how a cannibal CME works. When multiple clouds of CMEs originate from the same location, a mesmerizing phenomenon occurs where a succeeding cloud has the ability to overtake and incorporate the leading one and thereby acquiring even greater strength. This absorption process leads to an amplification of the magnetic intensity, further boosting the strength and power of the assimilating CME. This is what is known as cannibal CME.

Is Radio Blackout expected?

NOAA experts have warned in the three-day weather forecast that solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for M-class flares and a slight chance for an isolated X-class flare through 18 July. This can lead to R1-R3/Strong radio blackout.

How do scientists observe space weather?

NASA explains that scientists use a variety of ground and space-based sensors and imaging systems to observe activity at various depths in the solar atmosphere. Currently, there is a fleet of NOAA satellites and some NASA scientific satellites. For example, CME alerts come from SOHO, STEREO beacon images of the far side of the Sun; and super high-resolution images from SDO, while NOAA's DSCOVR satellite monitors solar storms and the Sun's behavior.

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First Published Date: 16 Jul, 16:51 IST