INDIA: The Sun, which is growing more active as its new solar cycle becomes more intense, detonated a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that is heading straight for Earth.
A massive rush of energy and plasma will reach Earth on Thursday, according to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research’s Center of Excellence in Space Sciences.
Coronal mass ejection is one of the largest eruptions from the Sun’s surface, capable of containing a billion tonnes of stuff propelled into space at speeds of several million miles per hour.
This solar material moves across the interplanetary medium, colliding with each planet or spacecraft it encounters. When a particularly powerful CME passes close to Earth, it can destroy satellite electronics and impair radio communication networks on the ground.
On March 28, solar flares were released from the Sun’s active areas 12975 and 12976. According to the Center, coronal mass ejection-induced moderate geomagnetic storms are a possibility as these flares strike Earth’s magnetic field.
In a tweet, the centre stated, “Our model fit shows a very high chance of Earth impact on March 31 with speeds ranging between 496-607 km/s.”
CESSI also discovered new sunspots on the Sun’s surface, which could lead to additional flares in the future.
“AR12975 and AR12976 have magnetically connected and are still classified as M/X flare producers with a good possibility of creating an X flare. Flare positive has also been assigned to AR 12978,” it was stated.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center in the United States confirmed the discovery and projected a G3 class violent geomagnetic storm for March 31.
The surface charge may occur on satellite components, drag on low-Earth-orbit satellites may increase, and adjustments for orientation difficulties may be required, according to the report.
“Intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation issues may occur,” Noaa said, “and HF radio may be intermittent.”
This isn’t the first time Earth will be hit by a geomagnetic storm; the frequency of space weather occurrences has grown as the Sun’s new solar cycle ramps up activity.
Earlier this year, Elon Musk’s SpaceX was hit by one of these geomagnetic storms, which destroyed 40 Starlink satellites.
The geomagnetic storm was caused by a four-hour coronal mass ejection from the Sun caused by an M1-class solar flare.
The impact on Thursday is likely to produce auroras that can be seen at lower altitudes. Meanwhile, it has the potential to disrupt electricity grids and communication networks.
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