Gigantic CME headed for the Earth, can spark solar storm soon; NASA records the explosion

A solar storm is expected to strike the Earth on October 7 after a huge CME cloud was seen moving towards our planet. A NASA SDO video shows the moment when the CME was released.

| Updated on: Oct 05 2023, 12:52 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
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1/5 Sun is a source of energy and a lot of activities keep on happening on the fireball. But can Earth be impacted by solar activities? Before we tell you that, it is important to know what solar activity is? According to NASA, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles are all forms of solar activity. All solar activity is driven by the solar magnetic field. (NASA)
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2/5 Solar flares impact Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth. Because flares are made of photons, they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. (Pixabay)
Solar storm
3/5 Coronal mass ejections, also called CMEs, are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction, and then continue on in that direction, plowing right through the solar wind. Only when the cloud is aimed at Earth will the CME hit Earth and therefore cause impacts. (NASA)
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4/5 High-speed solar wind streams come from areas on the sun known as coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the sun and usually, only when they are closer to the solar equator, do the winds they produce impact Earth. (NASA)
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5/5 Solar energetic particles are high-energy charged particles, primarily thought to be released by shocks formed at the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud plows through the solar wind, high velocity solar energetic particles can be produced and because they are charged, they must follow the magnetic field lines that pervade the space between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, only the charged particles that follow magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will result in impacts. (NASA)
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Know all about the solar storm set to strike the Earth this weekend. (NASA)

Yesterday, it was reported that October could see the same amount of solar activity as the previous month. Currently, there are eight different active sunspot regions on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, and any one of them exploding could send terrifying coronal mass ejections (CME). In fact, that is what happened on October 3, when a sunspot exploded and caused a solar flare to erupt, which in the process, hurled a massive CME towards the Earth. Now, as per a NOAA forecast, this CME is expected to strike our planet on Saturday, October 7. Further, NASA has also shared a video of the event that shows the scary moment when the explosion takes place and the CME releases.

As per a report by SpaceWeather, “NOAA forecasters say that a CME might graze Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 7th. It left the sun on Oct. 3rd, propelled by an explosion near the sun's northeastern limb. The glancing blow, if it occurs, could spark a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm”.

If you want to see a video of the moment, courtesy of NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory, you can do so here.

Solar storm fears plague the Earth

While a solar storm is expected to hit the Earth this weekend, a recent report by Space Weather Live has shown that minor solar-storm-like conditions are occurring right now. According to it, solar winds are hitting the Earth at the speed of 440 kilometers per second. This has taken the kp index to 5, which sets the level required to call the incident a geomagnetic storm.

As such, auroras can be seen in the higher latitudes, especially around Canada and the UK. It is not known what triggered the solar storm, but at the moment, no evidence of a CME has been found.

How NOAA's DSCOVR satellite monitors the Sun

NOAA monitors solar storms and Sun's behavior using its DSCOVR satellite which became operational in 2016. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared. The different measurements are done on temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles.

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First Published Date: 05 Oct, 12:52 IST