Solar winds rushing towards Earth! Geomagnetic storm risk in the coming days

    Gusty solar winds have been observed blowing towards the Earth. Could the planet be at risk of a geomagnetic storm?

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Nov 28 2022, 10:03 IST
    Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
    Solar flare
    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)
    Solar flare
    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 Flare
    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)
    image caption
    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)
    image caption
    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)
    Geomagnetic storm
    View all Images
    Know more about the geomagnetic storm danger faced by Earth. (Pixabay)

    Earth has been in the firing line of solar storms and more recently as the Sun is nearing the middle of its 11-year solar cycle. This has resulted in increased solar activity. Earth has faced numerous solar flares these past few months and more are expected as the Sun moves ahead in its cycle. NOAA forecasters have revealed that Earth is at risk of a geomagnetic storm soon.

    According to, the solar winds blowing towards Earth are a result of hot gaseous material escaping from a canyon-like hole in the Sun's atmosphere. This hole is known as a Sunspot. The report said, ”A high-speed stream of solar wind is approaching Earth. The gaseous material is flowing from a canyon-like hole in the sun's atmosphere. Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible when the solar wind arrives.”

    Solar wind effects

    The solar particles tend to interact with the Earth's magnetic field and spark Geomagnetic storms. When solar particles hit Earth, the radio communications and the power grid can be affected. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large.

    As per the K-index, which measures the magnetic field around the Earth, solar storms are divided into 5 classes from G-1 to G-5. The G-1 is the lowest impact solar G5 is given to the most severe solar storms.

    Auroras form as a result of the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun which sends solar fares hurtling towards Earth. Geomagnetic storms are often the precursor to stunning streaks of green light across the sky known as Northern Lights.

    NASA Mission to study solar activity

    NASA has a mission in place to study the rising solar activity of the Sun. NASA's SunRISE mission, which stands for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, is an upcoming mission expected to launch in 2024 to study and pinpoint how giant bursts of energetic particles originate from the Sun and evolve as they expand outward into space.

    The mission will observe low radio frequency emissions to better understand the generation of Solar Storms as well as other explosive space events. This research will help scientists forecast space weather, improve our understanding of how our Sun works, and may apply to studies of other stars.

    Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    First Published Date: 28 Nov, 10:03 IST