Solar storm alert! A CME just hit the Earth today and more are coming

The volatile sun has unleashed yet another strong coronal mass ejection (CME) that has actually gone on to hit the Earth sparking fears of a solar storm today.

| Updated on: Sep 17 2023, 14:58 IST
Solar Storm
Solar storm fears were raised after a CME struck a glancing blow to the Earth. In fact, as solar activity peaks, solar flares and coronal mass ejection (CME) threaten Earth. (Pixabay)
Solar Storm
Solar storm fears were raised after a CME struck a glancing blow to the Earth. In fact, as solar activity peaks, solar flares and coronal mass ejection (CME) threaten Earth. (Pixabay)

Solar activity has been on the rise, with recent developments stoking concerns about potential repercussions for our planet. On September 17th, as predicted, Earth was hit by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that was spewed out by the Sun earlier. While the initial impact did not trigger a geomagnetic storm, there's a possibility of minor G1-class storms being sparked today in the coming hours as Earth continues to traverse through the CME.

More solar storms are feared as this surge in solar activity was marked by another significant event on the Sun on September 17th when a massive magnetic filament erupted on its Sun's surface, spanning nearly an entire hemisphere. This dramatic event propelled a CME directly towards Earth, as reported by Also read: 22 years ago today, Earth suffered one of the worst solar storms of the modern era, NASA tells us

According to NASA's projections, this CME is expected to reach Earth's magnetic field late on September 19th. This impact has the potential to induce G2-class geomagnetic storms, resulting in mesmerizing auroras visible in northern-tier U.S. states, stretching from New York to Washington State. It is not expected to harm the electric infrastructure on Earth.

Adding to the solar intrigue, earlier occurrences included two M-class solar flares, known for their moderate intensity. These had a severe impact on one human activity - radio communications. The intense radiation emanating from these flares led to radio blackouts on Earth. Scientists are now actively investigating the likelihood of yet another CME heading our way, possibly triggering another solar storm.

The first solar flare, registering an intensity of M.173, was officially recorded by Space WeatherLive's X account at 4:18 AM on September 16th. It resulted in a brief shortwave radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean region. Shortly after, at 6:39 AM, a more potent M2.92-intensity flare occurred, causing another radio blackout that affected regions in Australia and New Zealand. These disruptions had repercussions for various groups, including drone operators, mariners, amateur radio enthusiasts, and emergency responders who rely on shortwave radio frequencies.

Potential Impacts and Preparedness

The escalating solar activity raises significant concerns about the potential release of a powerful CME. Such an event could have dire consequences, including the destruction of small satellites, disruptions to GPS and mobile networks, damage to internet infrastructure, potential power grid failures, and the corruption of sensitive ground-based electronics.

NASA's SOHO Satellite

NASA's SOHO satellite, launched in 1995 as a joint NASA-ESA effort, is a crucial tool for monitoring solar activity. Equipped with advanced instruments like EIT, MDI, and LASCO, it captures vital data about the Sun's corona, magnetic fields, and more.

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First Published Date: 17 Sep, 14:58 IST
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