Solar storm fury! Multiple solar flare explosions cause nonstop BLACKOUTS on Earth | Tech News

Solar storm fury! Multiple solar flare explosions cause nonstop BLACKOUTS on Earth

Sunspot complex AR3293-3296 has turned unstable and has been crackling with strong solar flares. The strong ultraviolet radiation from the eruptions has resulted in rolling series of blackouts on Earth. Is another major solar storm coming?

| Updated on: May 04 2023, 10:03 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)
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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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Multiple solar flare eruptions result in blackouts around the globe. Is this a sign of an incoming solar storm? Find out. (NASA)

The minor geomagnetic storm, which was supposed to be sparked by multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs), has passed us by without causing much concern. However, a new development on the Sun has begun troubling the Earth. A sunspot complex including AR3293, AR3294, AR3295, and AR3296 has turned unstable and is crackling with solar flares. These flares have been erupting incessantly and as a result of the intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a rolling series of radio blackouts have been caused on Earth. Find out if another solar storm is likely.

According to a SpaceWeather report, “Sunspot complex AR3293-3296 is crackling with strong M-class solar flares--six of them today so far. Pulses of extreme UV radiation are causing a rolling series of shortwave radio blackouts around the dayside of Earth. Loss of signal has been greatest over Africa where ham radio operators may have noticed fade-outs at all frequencies below 30 MHz”.

Blackouts plague the Earth

The continuous solar flare eruptions have resulted in a strange phenomenon where the Earth has experienced a rolling series of shortwave radio blackouts. As the Earth rotates, the part of the globe that is directly in front of the sunspot complex suffers the brunt of the UV radiation and blackout. The worst impact of it is seen on drone pilots, aviators, and ham radio operators. Even some emergency units use it for communications in areas without mobile networks.

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Another fear is that the solar flare eruptions could pave the way for a major solar storm, like the terrifying one we saw on April 23. These multiple flare eruptions can release enough CME clouds in space that can they can merge together and develop into a powerful solar storm causing wave.

The early detection of the M-class solar flares was done by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, which constantly monitors the Sun for such incidents.

Tech behind NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

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: 04 May, 10:01 IST