High-Speed solar storm may hit Earth today; What will be the impact and how it originates?

The high-speed solar storm can also lead to a blackout of high-frequency radio communication nearly for an hour in a vast area. It can also cause interference with the mobile phone signal, GPS navigation, and satellite TV.

Created On: Jul 13, 2021 13:40 IST
Geomagnetic Storm
Geomagnetic Storm

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a high-speed solar storm is approaching the Earth at a speed of 1.6 million kilometers per hour and is expected to hit the magnetic field of our planet later today. 

A geomagnetic storm may hit the Earth’s atmosphere and the weather experts have been keeping a close watch on it. The high-speed solar storm has been moving towards the direction of the Earth and is expected to batter the parts of it.

The solar flare originates from the atmosphere of the sun and can have a significant impact on a region of space dominated by the Earth’s magnetic field.

What will be the impact of solar storm?

• The High-speed solar storm can affect the electricity supply and infrastructure around the world. 

Because of the geomagnetic storm, the outer atmosphere can be heated which can also have a direct impact on the satellites.

This can further cause interference with the mobile phone signal, GPS navigation, and satellite TV. The current in power lines can get high, which can also blow the transformers.

• As per the latest prediction of the Space Weather Prediction Center of the US, the high-speed solar storm can also lead to a blackout of high-frequency radio communication nearly for an hour in a vast area. 

Geomagnetic storm: What do we know?

Geomagnetic Storm refers to the major or minor disturbances that occur in Earth’s atmosphere because of the efficient exchange of energy from the solar winds entering the space environment of Earth.

As per the estimates made by NASA, solar storms are known to blow at a speed of one million miles per hour and currently, the storm has been traveling at a speed of 1.6 million kms per hour towards the Earth. According to the space agency, that speed can also be expected to increase.

The most powerful Geomagnetic Storm that was ever recorded had resulted in the 1859 Carrington Event when the Telegraph lines had electrified. The solar storm had also destroyed operators and had set offices ablaze in Europe and North America.

How a solar storm is formed?

A solar flare or solar storms have their roots in an 11-year cycle that shifts the polarity of the magnetic field of the sun.

The sun’s magnetic forces at work get tangled during the process and can punch out through the surface, sending the Sun’s plasma into outer space and potentially triggering the storms on the Earth.

Previous solar storm and what has been done?

In May 2021, millions of tons of superheated gas had shot off from the surface of the sun and hurtled 90 million miles towards the home planet.

The eruption was called a coronal mass ejection and when it had hit the Earth’s magnetic field it had triggered the strongest geomagnetic storm seen for years.

A solar storm over Quebec, in March 1989, had caused a province-wide outage that had lasted for 9 hours. To head off such a catastrophe, the former President of the United States Barack Obama had laid out a strategy to raise awareness of the dangers of massive solar storms and also assessed the risks that they pose.

In 2020, former President Donald Trump had signed the ProSwift bill into law, which aims at building up technology for improving the forecast and measurement of space weather events.

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