Solar flares hurl CME towards Earth! Dangerous Geomagnetic storm to hit soon

NOAA forecasters have revealed that a G-1 class geomagnetic storm is expected to hit the planet in the coming days.

| Updated on: Jan 02 2023, 11:25 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
Solar flare
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)
Solar flare
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 Flare
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)
Solar flare
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Know more about the geomagnetic storm danger faced by Earth. (SDO/NASA)

The Sun is continuing to spew solar flares and the latest one has fired a powerful CME towards Earth. It will buffets the Erath's magnetosphere. According to NASA, "Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are huge bubbles of coronal plasma threaded by intense magnetic field lines that are ejected from the Sun. CMEs often look like huge, twisted rope, which scientists call 'flux rope'.". If the arriving solar magnetic field is directed southward it interacts strongly with the oppositely oriented magnetic field of the Earth to spark geomagnetic storms. Now, NOAA forecasters have revealed that Earth is at risk of a geomagnetic storm, which could hit the planet in the coming days.

According to, this G-1 geomagnetic storm is a result of a CME which is expected to hit the planet in the coming days. This CME was hurled towards Earth by an M3.7-class solar flare emitted by the Sun. A report said,” Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible on Jan. 4th when a slow-moving CME is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. It was hurled in our direction by an M3.7-class solar flare in the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR3176 on Dec. 30th.”

What are Solar Flares?

According to NASA, Solar flares are photon flares emitted from the Sun which travel from the flare site. They are ranked by alphabets depending on their intensity with ‘A' being the smallest in intensity and ‘X' being the most dangerous flare. Solar Flares occur due to Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) on the surface of the Sun which sends charged photon particles hurtling towards Earth.

However, not all solar flares impact Earth. In fact, these flares only impact the planet when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth.

About Geomagnetic storms

The Earth's magnetosphere, created by its magnetic field, protects us from most of the particles the sun emits. While Earth's magnetosphere deflects most solar activity carried by the solar wind, some charged particles seep through. These energetic particles cause magnetic disturbances, classified as either geomagnetic storms or substorms. These storms can cause stunning sky phenomena known as Auroras or Northern Lights.

When solar particles hit Earth, human activity, such as radio communications and the power grid, is affected. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large.

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First Published Date: 02 Jan, 11:09 IST