UNITED STATES: The Sun, the foundation of all life on Earth, is humming with activity as it nears the culmination of the solar cycle. In just two weeks, the star in our solar system has produced 35 Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), 14 sunspots, and 6 solar flares; some of them have passed us by, while others have struck Earth directly.
One of the largest eruptions from the Sun’s surface, the coronal mass ejection, can propel a billion tons of the stuff into space at speeds of up to several million miles per hour.
On the Sun’s surface, sunspots are spots that appear dark. Because they are cooler than other areas of the Sun’s surface, they seem dark. According to NASA, solar flares are an abrupt release of energy brought on by the tangling, crossing, or reorganization of magnetic field lines close to sunspots.
The solar cycle is an 11-year cycle in which the activity on the Sun ramps up, peaks, and then declines. In the last few weeks, the activity has fast ramped up. Nasa reported that even though we haven’t yet reached the cycle’s peak levels, the Sun’s activity is already exceeding expectations.
The Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC), a mission being developed by the American space agency’s Heliophysics Division, will significantly advance our understanding of the ionosphere-thermosphere (I-T) system and offer the first coordinated global-scale observations of the I-T region, where the effects of solar activity are frequently observed.
According to a blog update from Nasa, our lives and technology on Earth, satellites, and astronauts in space will all be influenced by solar occurrences as we approach solar maximum in 2025. When solar activity increases, the Sun will erupt more frequently as new sunspots form.
“Our reliance on space-based technologies and ground-based infrastructure, which are vulnerable to space dynamics, is growing. NASA reported that this already stronger-than-expected solar cycle would be the first one that many new commercial and government players traverse.”
Over 35,000 objects, including the International Space Station, are in orbit in our planet’s ionosphere and thermosphere zone and could be impacted by solar activity.