Solar storm DANGER looming! NASA's SOHO shows high number of sunspots will face Earth soon | Tech News

Solar storm DANGER looming! NASA's SOHO shows high number of sunspots will face Earth soon

The solar storm threat is going to increase massively for Earth next week as NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has detected a high number of sunspots on the farside of the Sun.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jun 09 2023, 11:46 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
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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 storm today
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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Know the reason why the Earth may suffer a strong solar storm strike next week. (Pixabay)

The second half of May and the first week of June were relatively quiet in terms of solar activity. The Earth did suffer a radio blackout earlier this week when sunspot AR3327 exploded and produced an M4.6-class solar flare. The sunspot has not exploded since then and it is likely that like the other sunspots present on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, it will also dissipate. However, the next week might bring trouble for our planet as the NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has spotted a high number of active sunspots on the farside of the Sun. Researchers believe that it can bring a spell of strong solar storms to Earth.

As per a report by SpaceWeather.com, “Helioseismic maps of the farside of the sun show multiple large active regions, probably sunspots. This means the sunspot number should remain high as the sun turns on its axis in the weeks ahead. Disappearing Earthside sunspots will be replaced by farside counterparts”.

Solar storm threat brewing for the Earth

A helioseismic map of the Sun was also shared by SpaceWeather that shows the active regions that will face our planet in a few days' time. The map shows four different dark regions, that highlight the potential area of instability on the Sun that can give rise to solar storms and solar flare productions. Among them, one of the regions is as large as the other three combined. This particular region is capable of sending a G5-class geomagnetic storm to the Earth.

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A solar storm that strong can damage satellites, impact mobile networks and internet connectivity as well as cause power grid failure. Although, healthwise, humans will not be directly impacted by the radiation, the disruptions to emergency services and power outages at places of high importance like hospitals can still be quite devastating to technology-based infrastructure.

How NASA SOHO monitors the Sun

NASA's SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is a satellite that was launched on December 2, 1995. It is a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the sun, its atmosphere, and its effects on the solar system. Equipped with 12 scientific instruments, such as Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT), Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI), LASCO (Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph) and others, SOHO captures images of the sun's corona, measures the velocity and magnetic fields of the sun's surface, and observes the faint corona around the sun.

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First Published Date: 09 Jun, 11:46 IST
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