Solar storm today! Earth will be hit by a massive CME cloud, warns NOAA; geomagnetic storm likely

NOAA forecasters have revealed that a solar storm can occur later in the day as a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud is expected to deliver a blow to the Earth, sparking a geomagnetic storm and auroras too. Check details.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jul 01 2023, 14:04 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar Flares vs Solar Storms
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 Flares vs Solar Storms
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)
Solar Flares vs Solar Storms
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Know all about the solar storm that is expected to hit the Earth today, July 1 leading to auroras and a minor geomagnetic storm. (Pixabay)

This week's solar storm prediction models had earlier claimed that today, July 1, was likely to be the worst affected by solar activities. The prediction is likely to come true as a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to hit the Earth and deliver a glancing blow later today. This solar storm event is arriving after a bit of a quiet period where Earth escaped as many as three CME hits. Researchers are concerned about the intensity of the storm as well as its adverse effects on satellites and wireless communication infrastructure.

According to a report by SpaceWeather.com, “NOAA forecasters say that a CME might graze Earth's magnetic field on July 1st. It was launched into space three days ago by an erupting magnetic filament in the sun's northern hemisphere”. A similar report by Dr. Tamitha Skov, a space weather researcher, highlighted “A chance for #aurora due to a #solarstorm glancing blow expected early July 1”.

Solar storm expected today

This week in particular has been riddled with solar activity. The Sun witnessed two separate solar flare eruptions, among which one was an X-class flare eruption. Two radio blackouts also followed these eruptions and affected regions in Northern America. This CME cloud escaped the Sun after the second flare eruption and has almost reached the Earth after three days.

The NOAA prediction suggests that the eventual storm will be of a G1-class geomagnetic storm, which is considered to be quite minor. Such solar storms may not be strong enough to affect mobile networks or damage satellites, they can still cause radio blackouts and disrupt GPS signals. And things can be worsened if these CME clouds pick up solar winds on their way and combine with it to spark terrifying solar storms.

NOAA's DSCOVR satellite's role in solar storm monitoring

NOAA monitors solar storms and Sun's behavior using its DSCOVR satellite which became operational in 2016. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared. The different measurements are done on temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles.

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First Published Date: 01 Jul, 14:04 IST
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