What are Solar Flares, Solar Storms and Geomagnetic Storms? NASA Explained

Solar phenomena such as sunspot eruptions, solar storms, CME, geomagnetic storms and solar flares, have all plagued Earth for the past months.

Although this solar activity might seem harmless due to the distance of the Sun from our planet, they can cause major damage. But what are these phenomena?

What are Solar Flares?

According to NASA, Solar flares are photon flares emitted from the Sun due to Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) on the surface which hurls charged photon particles towards Earth.

They are rated on the basis of their intensity with the highest being an X-rated solar flare and they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. 

What are Solar Storms?

NASA says that solar storms are a variety of eruptions of mass and energy from the solar surface. These are huge bursts of charged particles that get ejected from the Sun's atmosphere into space.

Solar storms have their roots in an 11-year cycle that shifts the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field.

What are Geomagnetic Storms?

Disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field that occur when the planet’s magnetic field interacts with charged particles from the sun are known as Geomagnetic Storms.

These storms are divided into 5 classes from G-1 to G-5. The G-1 is the lowest impact and G5 is the most severe.

When solar particles hit Earth, the radio and the power grid is affected. Geomagnetic storms often result in stunning streaks of green light across the sky known as Northern Lights.

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