High-speed solar winds from a “hole” in the sun’s atmosphere are set to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Wednesday (August 3), triggering a small G-1 geomagnetic storm.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (SWPC) Space Weather Prediction Center made the prediction after noticing that “gaseous material is pouring out of a southern hole in the Sun’s atmosphere.” According to spaceweather.com.
Coronal holes are regions in the Sun’s upper atmosphere where our star’s electrified gas (or plasma) is cooler and less dense. These holes are also where the sun is magnetic field Instead of wrapping back on itself, it radiates outward into space. This enables solar material to be erupted in a torrent that travels at speeds of up to 1.8 million miles per hour (2.9 million kilometers per hour), according to the exploration Science Museum in San Francisco.
Related: An ancient solar storm hit Earth in the wrong part of the sun’s cycle — and scientists are concerned
On planets with strong magnetic fields, like ours, this shower of solar debris gets sucked in, creating geomagnetic storms. During these storms, Earth’s magnetic field It is slightly compressed by high-energy particle waves. These particles flow through magnetic field lines near the poles and excite the particles in the atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of light to create colorful auroras, similar to those that make up the aurora borealis. Northern lights.
The storm generated by this debris will be weak. As a G1 geomagnetic storm, it has the potential to cause slight fluctuations in power grids and affect some functions of satellites – including mobile devices and GPS systems. It will also bring the aurora borealis As far south as Michigan and Maine.
Live Science previously reported that intense geomagnetic storms can disrupt our planet’s magnetic field strong enough to send satellites back to Earth, and scientists have warned that intense geomagnetic storms could disrupt the internet. Debris erupting from the sun, or coronal mass ejections (CMEs), usually take about 15 to 18 hours to reach Earth, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.
This storm comes as the Sun is ascending to its most active phase of its nearly 11-year solar cycle.
Astronomers have known since 1775 that solar activity rises and falls in cycles, but recently, the sun has been more active than expected, with nearly twice as many sunspots as NOAA predicted. Scientists predict that the Sun’s activity will rise steadily over the next few years, reaching a total maximum in 2025 before decreasing again. A paper published July 20 in the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics proposes a new model for the sun’s activity by separately calculating sunspots in each hemisphere — a method that the paper’s researchers argue can be used to make more accurate solar predictions.
Scientists believe that the largest solar storm ever seen during contemporary history was the Carrington event of 1859, which released roughly the same energy as 10 billion 1-megaton atomic bombs. After colliding with Earth, a strong stream of solar particles sent telegraph systems flying around the world and caused the aurora borealis to appear brighter than the light of a full moon in the southernmost Caribbean. Scientists warn that if a similar event occurred today, it would cause billions of dollars in damage and lead to widespread blackouts, like the 1989 solar storm that unleashed a billion-ton column of gas and caused blackouts across the entire Canadian province. Quebec, NASA reported.
Originally published on Live Science.