Solar Flare warning! Geomagnetic Storm to hit Earth this weekend | Tech News

Solar Flare warning! Geomagnetic Storm to hit Earth this weekend

Sun unleashed a powerful X2.2-class solar flare recently and it is set to impact Earth soon, sparking a geomagnetic storm. Here’s what experts say.

| Updated on: Feb 19 2023, 12:21 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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Minor G1 to moderate G2 geomagnetic storm is possible this weekend, report says. (Pixabay)

Currently, the Sun is at its volatile best as it reaches its solar cycle peak. The star entered its solar cycle 25 in 2019 and it is expected to hit its peak in July 2025. Now, a sunspot eruption has produced a strong X2.2-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the extreme ultraviolet pulse. A solar flare is a sudden and brief eruption of intense energy from the Sun's surface that releases a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, including X-rays and ultraviolet light. This burst of energy is caused by the release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun's atmosphere.

This recent solar flare explosion is one of the strongest observed in recent times and signals the increasing intensity of the Sun as it approaches its peak. Nevertheless, the danger is not over yet! Such eruptions emit a significant amount of coronal mass ejection (CME) into space, which may potentially trigger a solar storm upon reaching Earth. It could potentially harm satellites, disrupt mobile phone and internet networks, cause power grid failures, block radio communications and much more.

Solar Storm impact on Earth

In response to this powerful solar storm, a minor G1 to moderate G2 geomagnetic storms are possible this weekend in response to two incoming CMEs, the report mentioned. Not just that, space weather expert Dr. Tamitha Skov took to her Twitter handle to inform, “The earlier solar storm may have fizzled, but our Sun gives us another chance for aurora. Predictions from NOAA & NASA estimate storm arrival starting midday on Feb 19 to midday on Feb 20, GMT. Let's hope the Sun's aim is better than last time!”

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According to OECD, "Geomagnetic storms—a type of space weather—are much less frequent, but have the potential to cause damage across the globe with a single event. In the past, geomagnetic storms have disrupted space-based assets as well as terrestrial assets such as electric power transmission networks. Extra-high-voltage (EHV) transformers and transmission lines—built to increase the reliability of electric power systems in cases of terrestrial hazards—are particularly vulnerable to geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) caused by the disturbance of Earth‘s geomagnetic field."

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First Published Date: 19 Feb, 12:20 IST

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