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Solar storm forecast to hit Earth on Wednesday – here is what you need to know

Solar storm forecast to hit Earth on Wednesday – here is what you need to know

Earth is under a solar storm warning for Wednesday due to the chance of a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm hitting our planet.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SOLAR STORM?

High-speed solar winds from a “hole” in the sun’s atmosphere are set to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Wednesday. This will trigger a minor G-1 geomagnetic storm.

Although it might be a minor storm, scientists warned that it might have a slight impact on Earth’s geomagnetic field and cause radio and GPS signal disruptions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classifies geometric storms in five stages – one being the weakest and five the strongest.

WHAT IMPACT WILL IT HAVE ON EARTH?

And the one set for Wednesday will have a very low impact on satellites and technologies on Earth.

However, it may confuse migratory animals that use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational tool.

WHAT IS A GEOMAGNETIC STORM?

The Earth’s magnetosphere is created by our magnetic field and protects us from most of the particles the sun emits. When a CME or high-speed stream arrives at Earth it buffets the magnetosphere. If the arriving solar magnetic field is directed southward, it interacts strongly with the oppositely oriented magnetic field of the Earth.

The Earth’s magnetic field is then peeled open like an onion allowing energetic solar wind particles to stream down the field lines to hit the atmosphere over the poles. At the Earth’s surface a magnetic storm is seen as a rapid drop in the Earth’s magnetic field strength. This decrease lasts about 6 to 12 hours, after which the magnetic field gradually recovers over a period of several days.

DO SPACE WEATHER EFFECTS /SOLAR STORMS AFFECT EARTH?

  • Modern society depends on a variety of technologies susceptible to the extremes of space weather. Strong electrical currents driven along the Earth’s surface during auroral events disrupt electric power grids and contribute to the corrosion of oil and gas pipelines.
  • Changes in the ionosphere during geomagnetic storms interfere with high-frequency radio communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation. During polar cap absorption events caused by solar protons, radio communications can be compromised for commercial airliners on transpolar crossing routes. Exposure of spacecraft to energetic particles during solar energetic particle events and radiation belt enhancements cause temporary operational anomalies, damage critical electronics, degrade solar arrays, and blind optical systems such as imagers and star trackers.
  • Human and robotic explorers across the solar system are also affected by solar activity. Research has shown, in a worst-case scenario, astronauts exposed to solar particle radiation can reach their permissible exposure limits within hours of the onset of an event. Surface-to-orbit and surface-to-surface communications are sensitive to space weather storms.
Solar storm forecast to hit Earth on WEDNESDAY - here is what you need to know

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