Researchers and scientists around the world are on edge at the possibility of a strong solar flare hitting Earth in the coming days. The impact of a “snake-shaped filament” from the Sun, which NASA predicts will occur from July 19, will be a “direct hit”, according to Dr. Tamitha Skov, who adds that we should “expect interruptions of the signal in the night part of the Earth”.
New sunspots are expected to appear on the Earth-facing solar disk throughout the week, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that solar flares will also be likely.
What happened on July 15?
Experts believe that the radio outages on July 15 were caused by a large flare. A strong solar flare shot radiation in our direction, disrupting GPS and causing radio blackouts across the planet. Many people believed that this was the end of this “solar storm”, but now it appears that a slow-moving coronal mass ejection (CME) released by the solar flare is on its way to Earth.
It is also possible that auroras are visible in some regions of the Earth. The origin of the storm comes from a coronal mass ejection, a release of plasma and magnetic energy, like the one that jumped from the Sun on July 15 by an unstable filament of magnetism. These eruptions are capable of releasing 100,000 times more energy than all the power plants on Earth generate in a year.
These storms occur when the Sun is in the active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, and incidents like this are expected to increase in frequency.
Over the weekend, a huge structure of plasma and magnetic field known as a “prominence” broke away from the Sun.
Dr. Sebastian Voltmer, who captured an image of the bulge, told SpaceWeather that “the size of the bulge is impressive.” “It was spectacular to see a very fast part eject and break off to the side.”
What should we expect?
Powerful solar storms can have serious effects on human activities. Some research suggests that satellites have been knocked out of their orbits by increased solar wind activity and that smaller craft, known as CubeSats, have been completely destroyed. These satellites are declining in altitude 10 times faster than in the past, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.
NASA warned that a flare could have a significant impact on Earth’s geomagnetic field on the night of July 19. The organization also warned the public to expect significant interruptions to radio and GPS signals.
What is a solar flare?
A solar flare, as defined by NASA, is a strong burst of radiation resulting from the discharge of charged particles from sunspots. They are called bright spots on the sun’s surface and can last for a few hours. These flare explosions are usually caused by the discharge of photons from the sun.
Studies have shown that the intensity of a geomagnetic storm can be scaled from one to five, with one denoting a minor storm and five an extreme one. This implies that a strong eruption could disrupt radio and communications in many areas. The magnetic orientation of this solar storm heading for Earth is very difficult to predict. Level G2 (possibly G3) conditions may occur if this storm’s magnetic field is oriented south.”