Solar Storm Could Strike Earth! What is Solar Storm? (Download PDF)

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A huge solar storm was heading towards Earth, which could strike earth on March 15, 2018. What Destructions Could Be Caused By The Solar Storm? - The storm is expected to: Knockout satellites, Disrupt power supplies.

 Image of Solar Storm

Image of Solar Storm

Image of Solar Storm

  • Spark stunning displays of the Northern Lights.

  • The charged, magnetic particles from the solar storm can interfere with machinery in Earth’s orbit as well as at the planet’s surface, such as GPS systems and radio signals.

  • They can also threaten airlines by disturbing Earth’s magnetic field

  • Very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies.

What Brings Solar Storms?

  • The arrival of the solar storm coincides with the formation of ‘equinox cracks’ in Earth’s magnetic field, which form around the equinoxes on March 20 and September 23 each year.

  • These cracks weaken our planet’s natural protection against charged particles and could leave commercial flights and GPS systems exposed to the incoming storm.

  • The cracks also mean stargazers are more likely to catch glimpses of the Northern lights.

  • The charged, magnetic particles from the solar storm can interfere with machinery in Earth’s orbit as well as at the planet’s surface, such as GPS systems and radio signals.

  • NASA and the NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) keep track of solar events using an array of telescopes and probes, which help generate geomagnetic weather forecasts.

  • Researchers also study the sun to learn more about its structure as well as obtain data to make predictions about different types of solar flares.

  • The study includes solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections, which are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun.

  • The sun has an 11-year cycle of sunspot activity, with the last maximum having taken place in April 2014.

  • NASA is set to launch a spacecraft called Parker Solar Probe, which will travel closer to the sun than any other previous mission.

  • Parker Solar Probe would fly by Venus and travel into the corona - the sun’s upper atmosphere, with the aim of learning more about the particles that are ejected by the sun.

How Was the Storm Created in the Space?

  • The storm was created in the first week of March 2018, by an enormous explosion in the sun’s atmosphere known as a solar flare, and charged particles from that flare were on their way to earth.

  • Solar flares took place on March 6 and 7

  • NASA said this was first of the two flares - classified in the potent X class and facing directly at the Earth.

  • The solar fare was the biggest this year. It was one of the largest of this cycle known as the solar minimum, which began in early 2007.

  • The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the forecast suggests the Geo-Magnetic storm will be a G-1 or ‘minor’ storm.

What Are Solar Flares?

  • Solar flares and particles ejected via coronal mass ejections are associated with dark spots on the sun’s surface.

  • These are areas of intense magnetic activity, and when the magnetic fields in a sunspot cross each other, it can result in an energy explosion, known as a solar flare, which sends radiation into space.

  • Solar flares only affect Earth when they occur on the side of the sun facing the Earth.

  • Sometimes, these explosions can send out coronal mass ejections - large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun.

What Are Geo-Magnetic Storms?

The geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field caused by radiation and streams of charged particles from the Sun.

Carrington Event in 1859 is considered the strongest geomagnetic storm on record.

What Are ‘Equinox Cracks’?

  • Equinoxes are balanced days where harmony exists between the light and dark.

  • It is a day when the hours of day and night are of equal length, and it occurs twice each year, once in March and other in September.

  • These cracks in Earth’s magnetosphere (protective bubble) open up a portal that allows highly vibrating energy from the universe to flow in and directly impact energetic particles on Earth, including all living beings.

- Published/Last Modified on: July 1, 2018

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