Solar storm WARNING for Earth today; High chances of solar flare eruption, says NOAA
NOAA has issued a warning for high chances of solar flare eruption. A powerful solar storm can hit the Earth today. Check details.
On Thursday, a concerning development was seen on the Sun where two different sunspots, both unstable, appeared on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a warning. Today, February 10, there is a high chance of an M-class solar flare eruption and a smaller chance of even a severe X-class solar flare explosion. If this does happen, the Earth might suffer devastating consequences of the incoming solar storm. Interestingly, the Earth has already suffered multiple solar flare related blackouts in the first week of this month that affected the pacific region.
This recent development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “The odds of a strong solar flare today have more than doubled in response to a sudden profusion of large sunspots. NOAA forecasters say there is a 55% chance of M-class flares and a 15% of X-flares. The most likely source is Earth-facing sunspot AR3213, which has an unstable 'delta-class' magnetic field”.
Earth can suffer solar flare eruptions today
The source of these solar flare eruptions is the sunspot AR3213, which has already exploded once on February 7, resulting in an M-class solar flare. The eruption resulted in radio blackouts in the pacific region and affected parts of South America, Australia and New Zealand. However, normally after a solar flare eruption a sunspot disappears, which has not happened in this case. This is why it is difficult to gauge how intense the solar storm attack on Earth can be.
Solar flares blast a huge wave of X-ray, gamma rays and magnetic energy that often interferes with various satellite-based wireless waves. This results in disruptions of GPS services as well as low frequency radio waves which are used by drone operators, ham radio operators and emergency service providers. However, a powerful solar flare can also damage power grids.
Further, solar flare eruptions often release coronal mass ejection (CME) particles in space which can send another wave of solar storm to the Earth. These are more dangerous as they can damage satellites, mobile networks, internet services, power grids as well as ground-based electronic instruments, especially the critical ones such as pacemakers and supercomputers. At present, NOAA is keeping a vigilant eye on the sunspots to observe the situation.
DSCOVR satellite's role in solar weather monitoring
NOAA monitors the 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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