Unexpected CME cloud STRIKES Earth; Solar storm set to hit in just hours | Tech News

Unexpected CME cloud STRIKES Earth; Solar storm set to hit in just hours

An unexpected CME cloud has struck the magnetosphere of the Earth in the early hours today, January 18. It is expected to spark a solar storm within the next few hours.

| Updated on: Jan 18 2023, 12:08 IST
NASA: From Solar Winds, Solar Flares to CME, check how solar phenomena impact Earth
Solar Storm
1/5 The harrowing thing is that it will not just be China that would be affected by such a devastating solar storm. (NASA)
Solar Storm
2/5 Solar Flares: Solar flares are photon flares emitted from the Sun which travel from the flare site. They are rated on the basis of their intensity with the highest being an X-rated solar flare. It can cause power and radio blackouts and are responsible for the stunning phenomenon known to us as the Northern Lights or Auroras. (NASA/SDO)
Solar Storm
3/5 Coronal Mass Ejections (CME): CMEs are massive plasma clouds carrying photons that are ejected from the Sun. CME occurs during the solar cycle and is at peak in the middle of the cycle. (NASA)
Solar Storm
4/5 Solar Winds: Solar winds are high speed winds coming from holes in the Sun called Coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the surface of the Sun. If these solar winds prevail near the solar equator, they can cause impact on Earth, according to NASA. (Pixabay)
Solar Storm
5/5 Solar Energetic Particles: Solar energetic particles are emitted from the Sun during Coronal Mass Ejections. These are charged particles; hence they follow the magnetic field lines between the Sun and the Earth and if they pass the magnetic fields near Earth, they have an impact. (NASA)
Solar Storm
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A solar storm is likely to hit the Earth in the next few hours. Know all about it. (Pixabay)

Yesterday, it was predicted that Earth could suffer a solar storm attack on January 19 as a result of a large coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud that was released during multiple solar flare eruptions. However, unexpectedly, a part of the CME cloud has arrived earlier than its scheduled time and has struck the magnetosphere of the Earth in the early hours today, January 18. And now, in the hours to come, a solar storm will strike the Earth. You need to know how this dangerous solar storm can impact our planet. Check details.

The report came from SpaceWeather.com which said about the new incident, “Arriving earlier than expected, a CME appears to have struck Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 17th around 2200 UT. Its arrival was signaled by an abrupt shift in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth”. It also explained that the same IMF weakening in the southern hemisphere due to solar winds can now give right to a more powerful solar storm in hours to come.

Solar storm can hit the Earth in the next few hours

The delay between the first CME strike and the incoming solar storm is because they are separate events. The first CME cloud hit the Earth earlier than expected due to being carried by fast-moving solar winds. The same solar winds also impacted the IMF in the magnetosphere and weakened it in the southern hemisphere. Now, as more CME clouds strike the Earth soon, they will be met with less resistance and it will give rise to a stronger solar storm.

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It is not possible to gauge just how strong the solar storm can be but it can disrupt GPS systems and shortwave radio frequencies. This can affect ham radio operators, drone pilots and ships and airplanes which use such wireless communication. Further, if the solar storm was more intense, it can also fluctuate power grids and impact mobile networks and even the internet. Keep an eye out as astronomers try to predict the intensity of this solar storm.

Currently, there is also a gigantic sunspot on the Earth-facing disk of the Sun. This sunspot has been named AR3190 and it is so large that it can be seen with unaided eyes. Having said that, never-ever look at the Sun directly with your naked eyes as it is extremely harmful. This was one of the biggest sunspots to be seen on the Sun in recent years. If you want to see it, make sure to use safe solar glasses to protect your eyes. Looking at the Sun without protection can damage your eyes and can even blind you.

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First Published Date: 18 Jan, 12:06 IST