TERRIFYING farside explosion on the Sun sparks solar storm fears on Earth | Tech

TERRIFYING farside explosion on the Sun sparks solar storm fears on Earth

Astronomers have confirmed that a giant sunspot has exploded on the farside of the Sun. The sunspot will face the Earth in the next 48 hours. It can spell a solar storm on Earth soon.

| Updated on: Jan 27 2023, 15:45 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)
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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)
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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)
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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 approaching solar storm threat for the Earth. (Pixabay)

After a chaotic first half of the month, solar storms appear to have subsided for now. Since the beginning of this week, the Earth has not witnessed any solar storm activity. However, this period of peace could be short-lived as yet another threat is heading towards the Earth. In the late hours of January 26, astronomers spotted a farside explosion. It is believed that the explosion was caused by a highly unstable sunspot. And that sunspot will soon be facing the Earth. If another explosion takes place then, the Earth will suffer a terrifying solar storm attack.

The incident was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “A partial halo CME that billowed over the sun's eastern limb earlier today may herald the approach of an active sunspot. Indeed, helioseismic echoes reveal a farside active region only 1 to 2 days behind the limb”.

Earth can soon suffer a solar storm attack

Not all sunspot explosions (also known as solar flare eruptions) are dangerous. But this particular eruption released a lot of coronal mass ejection particles which is a sign that the eruption was so large, the mass on the surface of the Sun was sprayed in space. If this explosion took place when the sunspot faced the Earth, it would have caused a G5-class solar storm.

A solar storm that strong can damage satellites, impact mobile networks and internet connectivity as well as cause power grid failure. Although, healthwise, humans will not be directly impacted by the radiation, the disruptions to emergency services and power outages at places of high importance like hospitals, can still cause a high number of deaths. The last time we suffered such a solar storm was in 1859 in an event which is now known as the Carrington event.

NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory's role in predicting solar storms

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) uses a range of instruments to observe solar storms and other activity on the sun. These instruments include the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), which captures images of the sun in different wavelengths of light to study its atmosphere; the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI), which measures the sun's magnetic field and oscillations to study its interior; and the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE), which measures the sun's ultraviolet radiation output. Together, these instruments provide a comprehensive view of solar activity and allow scientists to better understand and predict solar storms.

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First Published Date: 27 Jan, 15:27 IST