Solar storm warning! A massive CME can strike the Earth this weekend; Check details now

A powerful solar storm is expected to strike the Earth on September 17, after a CME was seen headed towards our planet. Know how intense it can be, the risks associated, and the chances to see an aurora.

| Updated on: Sep 15 2023, 14:20 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
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1/5 Sun is a source of energy and a lot of activities keep on happening on the fireball. But can Earth be impacted by solar activities? Before we tell you that, it is important to know what solar activity is? According to NASA, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles are all forms of solar activity. All solar activity is driven by the solar magnetic field. (NASA)
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2/5 Solar flares impact Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth. Because flares are made of photons, they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. (Pixabay)
Solar storm
3/5 Coronal mass ejections, also called CMEs, are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction, and then continue on in that direction, plowing right through the solar wind. Only when the cloud is aimed at Earth will the CME hit Earth and therefore cause impacts. (NASA)
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4/5 High-speed solar wind streams come from areas on the sun known as coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the sun and usually, only when they are closer to the solar equator, do the winds they produce impact Earth. (NASA)
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5/5 Solar energetic particles are high-energy charged particles, primarily thought to be released by shocks formed at the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud plows through the solar wind, high velocity solar energetic particles can be produced and because they are charged, they must follow the magnetic field lines that pervade the space between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, only the charged particles that follow magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will result in impacts. (NASA)
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Know all about the solar storm that is predicted to strike the Earth on September 17. (Representative Image) (

On Tuesday, September 12, the Earth was hit by an unexpected coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud, which triggered a powerful G2-class solar storm on Earth. The storm was moderate in intensity but it was still enough to interrupt wireless communication and trigger bright aurora lights in the higher latitudes. But the solar storm onslaught is not likely to stop anytime soon. Another CME has been unleashed from the Sun and it is again headed for our planet. As per prediction models, it is likely to reach the Earth on September 17 and deliver a glancing blow to the planet. Check the dangers that you should expect.

According to a report by, “Yesterday, Sept. 14th, a magnetic filament connecting sunspots AR3423 and AR3425 erupted. The blast hurled a CME into space near the edge of the Earth-strike zone. A glancing blow on Sept. 17th could cause G1 to G2-class geomagnetic storms”.

Solar storm to strike the Earth over the weekend

As per the report, the resultant storm can be of G1 to G2 class intensity. Such a massive solar storm 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.

But this is not the only danger that's threatening the Earth right now. According to a post by SpaceWeatherLive's official X account, another moderate M2.5-class solar flare erupted yesterday night. It is unclear whether it has released CME, but solar observatories are currently monitoring the area for any signs of it. If it does, it would be the fourth solar storm event of the month, and we are only halfway through.

NOAA's GOES-16 satellite's Role in solar storm

GOES-16, formerly known as GOES-R before reaching geostationary orbit, is the first of the GOES-R series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites operated by NASA and NOAA. It was launched on November 19, 2016, and became operational on December 18, 2017. GOES-16 is located in geostationary orbit over the Atlantic Ocean and provides continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth's Western Hemisphere. It also carries a lightning mapper, which can detect both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning. GOES-16 is a vital tool for weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and space weather prediction.

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First Published Date: 15 Sep, 14:20 IST