There’s a solar storm heading towards Earth and might hit today, GPS, mobile signals to be affected

The high-speed solar storm might also blackout high-frequency radio waves and affect communications across large areas.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 18:47 IST
Here's what a solar flare looks like
Here's what a solar flare looks like (Pixabay)
Here's what a solar flare looks like
Here's what a solar flare looks like (Pixabay)

Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has some not-so-good news for Earthlings. There is a high-speed solar storm headed our way and it's coming in at the speed of 1.6 million kilometers per hour. This solar storm is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field later today and can affect electric supply and communications across the world. This solar storm, or solar flare, as it is also known, is flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun's atmosphere and was first detected on July 3. It can travel at a maximum speed of 500km/second as points out.

While a full-fledged geomagnetic storm is unlikely, lesser geomagnetic unrest could cause high-altitude auroras. Satellites in the Earth's upper atmosphere are expected to get affected by the incoming solar flares and this is going to impact GPS navigation, mobile phone signal, and satellite TV. Power girds might also be affected by this. According to Space Weather Prediction Center, USA, this solar storm can also blackout high-frequency radio communication for about an hour over a vast area. They have marked the solar flares at X1-level, where ‘X' denotes the strength of the flare.

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.

This solar storm might take down radio communications, mobile signals, and GPS signals for a while and render them ineffective while the storm passes over. Signals over large parts of the planet are expected to be affected by this phenomenon sometime today. The effect is not going to be a permanent one and normalcy in signal strength and function is going to resume once the storm passes.

What are solar flares?

Solar flares are essentially massive explosions that happen on the surface of the sun. These release energy and high-speed particles into space. Nasa classifies the biggest flares as X-class flares and this is based on a classification system that categorises solar flares according to their strength. The smallest flares are classified as A, then there are B, C, M, and X-class flares. The one expected to hit Earth today is an X-class flare, classified as X1 by the Space Weather Prediction Center.

Solar flares happen on the sun's surface every day and not all are strong enough to affect Earth's satellites, but minor solar storms pass through our solar system regularly and are no cause of alarm.

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First Published Date: 13 Jul, 12:48 IST
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