Science

Solar Storm In The Forecast To Strike Earth Thursday

The sun unleashed a strong solar flare which could result in a solar storm in the forecast that could hit Earth. The solar flare was released by our star on Sunday night and is a strong release of high-energy radiation. The Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite of NASA recorded a solar flare released from the sun, releasing a coronal mass ejection (CME.) So, on Feb. 15, we are greeted from two events, a partial solar eclipse and a potential solar storm in the forecast to strike at 8:25 p.m. ET.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite captured the flare at around 8: 25 p.m. ET Sunday.

Solar Storm In The Forecast
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

“[CMEs] are huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona,” the Space Weather prediction Center (SWPC) explained in its blog post. “When CMEs impact the Earth’s magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA) released a three-day-forecast regarding a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm watch for Thursday. The solar storms emitted from the sun could affect our planet in different ways, so here’s what you need to know about them.

Those magnetic storms which are on the surface of the sun can result in solar flares.

“A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots,” the post by NASA reads. “Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events.”

“The strongest flare are almost always correlated with coronal mass ejections,” NASA pointed out in a post, pointing out that if the storm in the forecast is strong, like in this case, it will cause a CME.

The solar storm is known to cause increased brightness and visibility of auroras, which are the Southern or Northern Lights. “Aurora may be visible at high latitudes, i.e., northern tier of the U.S. such as northern Michigan and Marine,” the NOA stated in an alert published on Wednesday.

The weak power grid fluctuations might occur in different regions, although the minor storm such as this one shouldn’t result in power loss. The solar storms are also known to be capable of causing small to moderate damage in the satellites which orbit the Earth, “especially those in high geosynchronous orbits” according to NASA’s statement. NASA added that the high frequency radio waves could be interrupted or “degraded.”

“Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive now than in the past because of our greater dependence on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents and energetic particles high in the Earth’s magnetosphere,” NASA explained.

Nevertheless, there are no reasons to worry about the solar storm in the forecast to occur on Thursday, as Solar storms commonly occur without any serious damage. Furthermore, we are protected by Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field which prevent those waves from causing serious damage.

“Some people worry that a gigantic “killer solar flare” could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth, but this is not actually possible,” NASA said in the statement from 2013.