On Tuesday, it was revealed that a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud was released during a powerful solar flare eruption over the weekend. This flare was a part of multiple such eruptions that took place over a period of three days when a sunspot complex turned unstable and reversed its polarity. The resultant CME is said to be a potent one and is capable of sparking a powerful solar storm on Earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that the storm will hit our planet later today, May 11.
As per a report by SpaceWeather.com, “Strong G3-class geomagnetic storms are possible today, May 11th, when a CME is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. At the time, the CME was traveling faster than 1,000 km/s (2.2 million mph). According to NOAA’s latest forecast model, the impact should occur on May 11th at approximately 1200 UT. A NASA model predicts 1800 UT”. This means the storm will hit the Earth between 5:30 PM and 11:30 PM IST.
Solar storm to strike the Earth today
Last month, the Earth was struck with a G3-class geomagnetic storm which not only delayed a SpaceX rocket launch but also forced oil rigs in Canada to stop operations due to an increase in static electricity in the environment. A similar storm can cause a lot of damage in theory.
Such storms can do more damage than normal. They can damage small satellites, impact mobile networks, GPS, and even pose a threat to ground-based electronics and power grids by increasing the magnetic potential by huge amounts.
The aurora effect can also be seen much further south than normal. NOAA has predicted aurora show can be seen as far as Oregon, Nebraska, and Virginia.
Know how NOAA monitors the Sun
While many space agencies from NASA with its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keep track of Sun-based weather phenomena, one that particularly stands out is the DSCOVR satellite by NOAA. The satellite became operational in 2016 and tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmosphere including temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of the solar particles. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared.
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