Valentine’s day solar storm ALERT! Sun blasts CME clouds towards the Earth | Tech News

Valentine’s day solar storm ALERT! Sun blasts CME clouds towards the Earth

A solar storm can strike the Earth on Valentine’s day, after a huge coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud was spotted being hurled by the Sun. Know the damage it can cause.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 14 2023, 10:17 IST
NASA: From Solar Winds, Solar Flares to CME, check how solar phenomena impact Earth
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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)
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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)
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Know all about the Valentine’s day solar storm. (Pixabay)

Ever since the X-class solar flare eruption on the Sun on February 11, solar activities have been in the pause mode. But that does not mean any good news for the Earth. The same flare eruption had also released a huge cloud of coronal mass ejection(CME) which has been predicted to reach our planet between today, February 14 and February 15. Sadly, this means that many people's valentine's day plans can get affected by the Sun's wrath. The solar storm can impact wireless communications and cause a nightmare for flights and other services relying on low frequency transmissions. Know the possible consequences of this solar storm attack.

The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “Minor G1-class solar storms are possible on Feb. 14-15 when one or more CMEs could deliver glancing blows to Earth's magnetic field. The storm clouds were hurled into space by an X1-flare and an erupting magnetic filament--both on Feb. 11th”. Interestingly, the CME cloud that has been released has taken the shape of a halo.

Solar storm to hit on Valentine's day

The resultant solar storm from this CME strike is expected to be of G1 class level. Although it is a minor solar storm, it is still potent enough to cause some annoyance for people. Solar storms contain a high amount of magnetic energy, along with other radiation, which are capable of interfering with wireless communications including GPS services and low frequency transmissions. These services are largely used by airlines, small ships and mariners, drone operators and ham radio controllers.

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As a result, this solar storm can delay or alter the flight paths of planes which can affect travel times for many in the affected region. Similarly, some emergency services and broadcast stations can also be affected. Luckily, this solar storm is not strong enough to damage satellites or affect power grids on the Earth.

It is not possible to identify the region which may be affected by this solar storm, although a greater likelihood is for the regions residing in the southern hemisphere. South America, Australia and New Zealand, few African countries and some island nations are at the highest risk. The National Oceanic and Space Administration (NOAA) is keeping a watchful eye towards any new developments around the CME cloud.

How NOAA predicts solar storms

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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First Published Date: 14 Feb, 10:16 IST
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