Geomagnetic storm could be triggered by CME today, says NOAA

An approaching CME could hit Earth and spark a geomagnetic storm today, September 26, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have revealed.

| Updated on: Sep 26 2023, 13:23 IST
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Geomagnetic storm
1/5 In the year 2025, the Sun is expected to reach the peak of its solar cycle, also known as the Solar Maximum. This is the period when its solar activity will be extremely high, with more than 100 sunspots likely to be present at the same time on the Sun.  (Pixabay)
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2/5 Such a highly reactive state can blast powerful geomagnetic storms towards our planet. But just how strong can these geomagnetic storms be and what consequences could they bring to our planet? (Pixabay)
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3/5 According to a report by Mashable, NYU professor of engineering, physics, and mathematics Katepalli Sreenivasan has said that there is a 3 percent chance of a Carrington-level occurrence.  (Pixabay)
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4/5 That means a G5-class geomagnetic storm can hit the planet in 2025. Such storms are capable of destroying satellites, mobile networks, wireless communications, GPS, and internet services and even cause power grid failures. In short, such an incident can send our planet back to the dark ages.  (NASA)
Geomagnetic storm
5/5 But, the chances of such a geomagnetic storm hitting the Earth is still pretty slim, although scientists are not sitting on their laurels. With one and a half years to go, agencies such as ESA, NASA, and NOAA are working on building better predictive tools to know about such solar dangers even before they occur so we can take preventive steps.  (Pixabay)
Geomagnetic storm
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NOAA forecasters have warned of a G1-class geomagnetic storm impact today. (Pixabay)

Geomagnetic storm today: NASA's Parker Solar Probe on September 5 recorded one of the most powerful Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) ever as it flew by the Sun. According to NASA, the CME hurled out interplanetary dust to about 6 million miles, which is one-sixth of the distance between the Sun and Mercury. Astonishingly, the dust floating around in space replenished it almost immediately. Guillermo Stenborg, an astrophysicist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) who led this study said, “These interactions between CMEs and dust were theorized two decades ago, but had not been observed until Parker Solar Probe viewed a CME act like a vacuum cleaner, clearing the dust out of its path.”

In a separate development, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have revealed that a CME is approaching Earth rapidly and could hit Earth soon, resulting in a geomagnetic storm.

Geomagnetic storm today

According to a report by, a CME could deliver a glancing blow today, September 26. Just two days ago, another CME hit Earth and sparked rare red auroras. While no auroras have been predicted for today, today's CME could trigger a G1-class geomagnetic storm.

The report states,“ A geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for Sept 26th when another CME is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters expect it to be a glancing blow producing only a minor G1-class storm.”

Solar flares threat

Interestingly, a CME impact is not the only space weather threat that is looming over Earth. According to NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a sunspot named AR3435 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field which could hurl out X-class solar flares towards the planet.

For the unaware, X-class solar flares can create radiation storms which have the potential to not only harm the satellites but also give small doses of radiation to the people flying in airplanes at the time! Moreover, these devastating flares can disrupt global communications and bring down the power grids to create blackouts.

If the X-class flares are too strong, they can result in loops that are ten times as big as Earth which leaps off the Sun's surface as the magnetic fields cross over, according to NASA. When these loops reconnect, they can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs!

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First Published Date: 26 Sep, 13:21 IST