Solar storm alert: X-class solar flares may be hurled towards Earth by sunspot AR3615 | Tech News

Solar storm alert: X-class solar flares may be hurled towards Earth by sunspot AR3615

After the recent onslaught of solar activity brought about by the G4 geomagnetic storm, NOAA says that an X-class solar flare could hit Earth soon.

| Updated on: Mar 26 2024, 15:07 IST
Solar storm effects: From power grid failures to radio blackouts, know the dangers
solar activity
1/5 Geomagnetic storms - The high-speed solar flares spewed out by a solar storm interact with the Earth's electromagnetic field and spark Geomagnetic storms. According to NASA, a geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere which occurs when there is a strong exchange of energy from the solar wind in the space above Earth. (Pixabay)
solar activity
2/5 Power grid failures - NASA says when solar storms hit Earth, they interact with the planet’s magnetosphere and induce currents in electrical systems. This leaves power grids vulnerable to major blackouts. For this to be possible, the solar storms have to be extremely powerful. (Unsplash)
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3/5 Change bird migration patterns - Solar Storms can also cause a change in the migration patterns of birds, whales and even bees. Since birds rely on the magnetic fields of the Earth for navigation, their migration patterns are affected. (Unsplash)
solar activity
4/5 Radio blackouts - One of the major effects of solar storms is Radio blackouts. While the planet's magnetic field acts as a shield and protects it from most of these dangerous solar particles, these do get funnelled towards the poles, where they cause an ionizing effect, effectively absorbing shortwave radio waves and causing a loss of communication. (Unsplash)
solar activity
5/5 Auroras - When a Solar Storm hits Earth, it sparks a Geomagnetic storm and the magnetic field lines of the Earth temporarily get disturbed, releasing extremely high magnetic energy. The energy and heat are enough to ionize oxygen present in the upper atmosphere and turn it into blue-green hues of light, which we know as Auroras or Northern lights. (Pexels)
solar activity
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A solar storm threat has been observed with possibility of X-class solar flares being hurled out towards Earth. (Pixabay)

On Sunday, a severe geomagnetic storm struck Earth. This happened just days after the Sun unleashed an X-class solar flare and hurled out a stream of boiling hot plasma, known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) towards the planet. This development comes at a time when the solar maximum is approaching, which will likely lead to increasing frequency and intensity of solar phenomena such as solar storms, CMEs, solar flares, geomagnetic storms and more. The latest instance of this devastating solar activity may show up today or tomorrow in the form of an X-class solar flare, raising a potential solar storm threat.

Also Read: Severe G4 Geomagnetic storm hits Earth!

Solar storm alert

According to a SpaceWeather report, the geomagnetic storm that struck Earth on March 24 was the strongest one since 2017. While its threat is over, another one is now looming. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have shed light on the sunspot AR3615 which is growing in size.

As per the report, it could result in X-class solar flares being hurled out towards Earth either today or tomorrow. NOAA says there is a 25% chance of these flares being spewed out and hitting the planet.

The report states, “Sunday's severe geomagnetic storm is over, but the calm might not last. Giant shape-shifting sunspot AR3615 poses a continued threat for Earth-directed solar flares. NOAA forecasters say there is a 25% chance of X-flares today and tomorrow. “

If the solar storm threat does actualize, it may also spark auroras over Europe and the US.

Also Read: Geomagnetic storm alert issued as CME grazes Earth

Rising solar activity

In recent weeks, we've seen solar storms being sparked by even weak solar winds. This is due to the Russell-McPherron effect which causes a semiannual variation in the effective southward component of the interplanetary field. Consequently, there is a crack in the Earth's magnetic field through which even weak solar winds can seep through and spark a solar storm.

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First Published Date: 26 Mar, 15:07 IST