Solar storm ALERT! Earth to suffer dangerous CME strike today, warns NOAA

NOAA models have shown that a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud will hit the Earth in the late hours of today, May 16. This can spark a dangerous solar storm. Know the details.

| Updated on: May 16 2023, 09:40 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
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)
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)
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NOAA issues a warning against a solar storm expected to hit the Earth today. (Pixabay)

Recently, solar activity has been recorded at terrifying highs. The month-on-month total average sunspot activity has been exceeding the predictions ever since the beginning of 2023. Some researchers believe this is because the real peak of the current solar cycle is likely to be at the end of this year or the beginning of 2024. So, the Earth should prepare for more intense and frequent solar storm events. And today is going to be one of those days as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a warning for a dangerous solar storm today, May 16.

As per a report by, “NOAA forecasters say that a CME could hit Earth's magnetic field on May 16th. Relatively faint and slow-moving, it was hurled into space on May 12th by an erupting filament of magnetism in the sun's southern hemisphere”. It also highlighted that the resultant impact was expected to be a G1-class geomagnetic storm.

Tech disruption likely by Solar storm today

Compared to some of the stronger solar storm events that we have seen in the month of May, this particular one is not expected to be too strong. However, even minor storms can cause some serious damage. It can disrupt wireless communications and GPS services, causing trouble for airlines, mariners, ham radio controllers, and drone operators. The solar storm can delay flights, cause ships to change course, and disrupt any important information that is shared through these low-frequency channels. The coronal mass ejection (CME) is likely to strike the Earth in a few hours' time as per the NOAA models.

This will not be the end of troubles for Earth either. There is a gigantic sunspot that is slowly turning towards the Earth. It is highly active and can spark a series of solar storms towards the Earth.

NASA Tech that predicts solar storms

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 16 May, 09:38 IST