Sun BLASTS another solar flare at Earth; Know the geomagnetic storm warning | Tech News

Sun BLASTS another solar flare at Earth; Know the geomagnetic storm warning

Geomagnetic storm warnings are incoming after another solar flare erupted on the Sun. This time, it was an M 4.9-class solar flare.

| Updated on: Jun 24 2023, 11:28 IST
Wrath of Sun! Solar flares spark Geomagnetic storms, blackouts, and more on Earth this week
Geomagnetic storm
1/6 Activity on the Sun was quite high in the first week of May 2023. The week began with the sunspot AR3288 exploding, which resulted in a massive solar flare eruption, which caused a shortwave radio blackout in multiple regions including northern and western Africa, the northeastern region of South America, and some fringe areas in western Europe. (Pixabay)
Geomagnetic storm
2/6 On Wednesday, multiple coronal mass ejection (CME) clouds struck the Earth. These were released the previous weekend when a magnetic filament erupted. This sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm on Earth.  (Pixabay)
Geomagnetic storm
3/6 The very next day, “Sunspot complex AR3293-3296 turned unstable and began exploding continuously (an event which is still going on today, three days since its start). As a result, the Earth experienced a rolling series of shortwave radio blackouts. (@amazingskyguy / Twitter)
Geomagnetic storm
4/6 On day two of the sunspot complex explosion, multiple CME clouds were released from the surface of the Sun, however, due to so many CMEs escaping together, the telescopes were not able to find out whether one of them was Earth-directed or not. (Pixabay)
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5/6 The suspicion that one of the CME was indeed Earth-directed became clear as today, NOAA forecasters declared that a geomagnetic storm can hit our planet today after a CME wave was seen headed for us. Reportedly, G2-G3-class geomagnetic storm can strike the Earth later today. (NASA)
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6/6 But sadly, that won’t be the end of solar activity for this week. Another geomagnetic storm is expected to arrive either tomorrow, May 7, or on May 8. And in case both of these merge, the resultant storm can be terrifying. (NASA/SDO)
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A new solar flare has erupted on the Sun that has raised concerns about geomagnetic storms that can strike the Earth soon. (Pixabay)

We are yet to receive an update on the incoming CME cloud that is supposed to deliver a glancing blow to the Earth today. But in the meantime, reports of another solar flare eruption have raised concerns among researchers. This particular solar flare was produced on sunspot AR3341 on June 23, the same region that was responsible for the X1-class flare that sparked a massive short-wave radio blackout on June 20. While yesterday's flare has not sparked a blackout, it now remains to be seen if this can cause a geomagnetic storm on Earth.

Space weather physicist Dr. Tamitha Skov, who is also popularly known as space weather woman, mentioned in her forecast, “This week our Sun really kicks things into high gear with Region 3341 firing an X1.1-flare, an M4.9-flare, and launching two near-Earth directed geomagnetic storms. Although the storms will likely only graze Earth, we may be in for a bit of a bumpy ride, especially at high latitudes. Aurora may be visible sporadically all week”.

She added that during the next five days, there is a high risk for radio blackouts, which might be a concern as this weekend, the world celebrates Field Day, an annual amateur radio contest where many regions practice the rapid deployment of radio communications for emergency situations.

Geomagnetic storms concern rises

The fear of radio blackouts comes from the notorious solar region AR3341 which has already produced two massive solar flares. Skov said, “We likely wont get another X-flare from region 3341, but big M-flares are definitely possible along with an Earth-directed solar storm or two. This means Field Day for many radio operators will include a lot of noise and intermittent disruptions on the bands during the day”.

Additionally, the geomagnetic storm can also cause a number of problems including disruption to mobile networks and GPS, damage to satellites, power grid failure, and more.

How NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory monitors solar activity

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 24 Jun, 11:24 IST