A solar storm will impact the Earth this Thursday, what can happen?

A solar storm will impact the Earth this Thursday, what can happen?

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Alfredo Graca Weathered Portugal 6 minutes
solar storm sun earth
The physics of solar phenomena such as coronal mass ejections have not yet been studied in detail, but everything indicates that they are magnetic in nature, with a cycle of approximately 11 years.

On July 11, a rash sun drew attention of the personnel of the space observatories in different points of the planet. This phenomenon, which normally occurs in the atmosphere of the “king star”, consists of a sudden burst of electromagnetic radiation and energy particles originating in a small region of the solar atmosphere.

In this case it came from a region of the sun in which your magnetic field is especially strong and complexcausing these bursts to travel At the speed of light.

However, these phenomena do not always occur spontaneously, but rather are the result of a much larger process such as the one being experienced by the Sun right now.

Inside the Sun, the same magnetic field that caused the explosion observed on July 11 continued to spin and launch huge amounts of solar plasma into space. This process, known as coronal mass ejection (CME, for its acronym in English), moves at a slower speed than the ejecta and that is precisely what happened all last week.

Last July 15, one of them was projected from the Sun towards the Earth and, despite its slower speed, forecasts from the Space Weather Prediction Center NOAA (Space Weather Prediction Center, in English) indicate that it will reach Earth this Thursday.

How could the solar storm affect telecommunications?

The physics of these phenomena (solar wind, sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections) has not yet been studied in detail, but evidence suggests that are primarily magnetic in nature, occurring approximately every 11 years.

This is when the Sun experiences its most active magnetic periods, known as solar maximawhen the frequency of these events is particularly high.

and precisely now the Sun is approaching the peak of its current cyclewhich is estimated to reach its maximum during 2024since since last autumn (2021) there has been a increasing amount of these phenomena in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

A coronal mass ejection can affect the Earth in different ways: although is usually accompanied by polar lights (commonly visible at high latitudes), its interaction with the earth’s magnetosphere can cause the compression and modification of its structure, generating new magnetic fields more complexin addition to the existing Earth’s magnetic field.

solar storm communications
The effects of a geomagnetic storm can be felt in the form of disruptions to satellites, GPS, and other telecommunications systems.

This phenomenon is called geomagnetic storm and its effects can be felt in the form of interruptions in radio and satellite communicationsas well as cuts of Energy in the most extreme cases.

The good news about this NOAA forecast is that estimates suggest that this geomagnetic storm is at its lowest level (1)which could eventually cause fluctuations in the power grid and have little impact on earth satellite operations, as well as also affect migratory animals. Despite all this, does not represent a danger to human health.

More serious past events

Despite the slight intensity expected for this Thursday’s storm, always it is good to take a look at history and keep in mind more serious past events.

The so-called Carrington Event caused the collapse of telegraph networks in much of the northern hemisphere.

Year 1859 is remembered as the period that gave rise to the Event of Carrington: in that year, a great geomagnetic storm with the same origin caused the collapse of telegraph networks in Europe and North America. In addition, he set the receivers on fire and caused several electrocutions in a world that was not as dependent on telecommunications as it is today.

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