Solar storm strikes the Earth! Sparked by multiple solar flares, it is expected to last 48 hours
A long-duration solar storm hit the Earth in the early hours of August 10. It is believed to be caused by a series of solar flare eruptions that took place earlier this week. The solar storm is expected to last 24-48 hours.
This week was filled with high-intensity solar activity. The week began with an X-class solar flare eruption that released two separate coronal mass ejections (CME), which eventually gave way for the cannibal CME that missed the Earth narrowly. Beyond this, there were several M-class and X-class solar flare eruptions on the Sun this week, all of which have released solar particles directed towards the Earth. This excess of solar particles has slowly made its way to our planet and has sparked a solar storm event that may last between 24 to 48 hours. We have not seen a long-term solar storm like this in years. So, what kind of impact it may have on us? Let us take a look.
According to a report by SpaceWeather.com, “Energetic solar protons are hitting Earth's upper atmosphere today. They were accelerated in our direction by a recent series of X- and M-class solar flares. The main effect of this solar radiation storm (category S1) is a shortwave radio blackout inside the Arctic Circle (map). The storm is expected to last another 24 to 48 hours”.
Long-duration solar storm strikes the Earth
Usually, when a solar storm event occurs, it is caused by CMEs, which carry both energized solar matter as well as plasma. These are smaller in quantity and higher in intensity and can cause intense storms for a shorter period of time.
However, right now we are being bombarded by charged proton particles, which are humongous in size. These are also called solar winds sometimes. With a series of solar flare eruptions this week, such subatomic particles must have been released in huge quantities. And that is why this solar storm is expected to last so long.
Notably, these particles are also the weakest when it comes to creating a solar storm. This particular storm is largely localized in the arctic circle and the biggest impact has been a shortwave radio blackout in the region. There are no reports of damaged satellites, impact to GPS or mobile network, any internet disruption, or impact on power grids. However, we will have to wait and see whether there is any accumulation effect at the end of the 48 hours.
The tech arsenal of NOAA
One of the major entities that observe and predict such atmospheric disturbances is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has an arsenal of satellites floating around the Earth which observe our planet and outer space to analyze and understand what causes different weather phenomena. One such tech marvel is the NOAA-20 satellite. It is a polar-orbiting, non-geosynchronous, environmental satellite, part of the Joint Polar Satellite System.
It crosses the equator about 14 times daily, providing full global coverage twice a day. This gives meteorologists information on atmospheric temperature and moisture, clouds, sea-surface temperature, ocean color, sea ice cover, volcanic ash, fire detection and more.
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