High speed solar winds have been observed blowing towards the Earth. Could the planet be at risk of a geomagnetic storm?
The Sun is nearing the middle of its 11-year solar cycle, resulting in increased solar activity and solar output. Earth has faced numerous solar flares these past few months and more are expected as the Sun moves ahead in its cycle. As a result, the planet is being bombarded with solar particles, flares and solar storms. NOAA forecasters have revealed that Earth is at risk of a geomagnetic storm.
According to spaceweather.com, the solar winds are a result of hot gaseous material escaping from a large southern hole in the Sun’s atmosphere. This hole is known as a Sunspot. The Spaceweather.com report said,” NOAA forecasters say there is a chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Nov. 20th or 21st when a high-speed stream of solar wind is expected to hit Earth. The gaseous material is flowing from a large southern hole in the sun’s atmosphere. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras.”
Effects of solar winds
The solar winds could interact with the planet’s magnetic field and cause the formation of Geomagnetic storms. When solar particles hit Earth, the radio communications and the power grid are affected. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large.
Auroras form as a result of the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun which sends solar fares hurtling towards Earth. Geomagnetic storms are often the precursor to stunning streaks of green light across the sky known as Northern Lights.
Did you know?
NASA has a mission in place to study the rising solar activity of the Sun. NASA’s SunRISE mission, which stands for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, is an upcoming mission expected to launch in 2024 to study and pinpoint how giant bursts of energetic particles originate from the Sun and evolve as they expand outward into space.
The mission will observe low radio frequency emissions to better understand the generation of Solar Storms as well as other explosive space events. This research will help scientists forecast space weather, improve our understanding of how our Sun works, and may apply to studies of other stars.