Powerful M-Class Solar Flare alert today! Earth may face solar storm danger | Tech News

Powerful M-Class Solar Flare alert today! Earth may face solar storm danger

The NOAA forecasters have issued a warning about a powerful M-class solar flare today. It may lead to a solar storm on Earth thereafter.

| Updated on: Apr 09 2023, 16:04 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar Flare
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 Flare
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)
Solar Flare
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Does the upcoming solar flare pose danger to Earth? Here’s what experts say. (SDO/NASA)

The Sun is increasingly spewing out dangerous solar flares, which are having a significant impact on Earth. Recently, a newly formed sunspot exploded spitting out out an M3-class solar flare on April 6, which was directed in the direction of Earth. Result? A minor shortwave radio blackout over the Indian Ocean area, affecting South Asian nations such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even China, Japan, and South Korea. The situation was just coming to normal when yet another solar flare is expected to have its impact on Earth.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters predicted that there is a 30 percent chance of an M-class solar flares today, April 9, SpaceWeather.com reported. The report further noted on its website, "Almost certainly, the source would be sunspot AR3272, which has an unstable 'beta-gamma' magnetic field."

The worrying part is that "Any explosions will be geoeffective as the sunspot is turning to face Earth," SpaceWeather.com added in its report. That means Earth will soon face the consequences of this new M-class Solar flare. The solar flares are classified into four classes - A, B, C, M, and X based on their intensity. So, the most powerful solar flare would be an X-classified solar flare while M denotes the second most powerful solar flare.

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Just like the M3-class solar flare which caused a blackout over the Indian Ocean, the upcoming solar flare poses danger to our planet. NOAA alert has warned that "Satellite systems may experience significant charging resulting in increased risk to satellite systems."

Use of tech in solar flare predictions

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors Solar Flares and Sun's behaviour 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 satellite tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmospheres such as temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles.

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First Published Date: 09 Apr, 16:03 IST