In the last 24 hours, space weather scientists have seen flares, eruptive filaments, and CMEs.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued geomagnetic storm watches, including a warning of a possible G3 storm, a severe storm, from August 17 through August 19, 2022.
G3 storms can cause auroras to be observed as far south as the Washington-Oregon state line. As described by NOAA, the high-speed solar wind will first make contact with Earth on August 17, causing a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm.
On August 18, geomagnetic activity will likely “escalate” to G3 (strong) levels. The escalation will be caused by the arrival of a number of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), which have been heading toward Earth recently.
The solar activity in 2022 has increased significantly. In the last 24 hours, space weather scientists have seen flares, eruptive filaments, and CMEs. There is one sunspot region in particular that has grown rapidly in complexity and contains a lot of magnetic energy, called AR3078.
THE REMARKABLE CHANGES IN SUNSPOT GROUP: AR3078 has evolved into a huge sunspot complex. Note how the initially simple region grows and changes, & the rotation of the spots in the NW (upper right) of the region plus the complication of the emergence of another region ahead of it. pic.twitter.com/It3uX2Zb9t
— Keith Strong (@drkstrong) August 16, 2022
An M1 flare was produced in this region alone, followed by an M2.7, an M1, and an M5 flare – the M rating indicates that the flares are of medium size. Besides AR3078, two other areas have emitted filament flares and three CMEs.
Recently, a scientist has warned about the fact that the activity of the current solar cycle is already higher than expected and that if the trend continues, some of the many satellites —the least prepared for these phenomena— could be destroyed.
As a result of solar disturbances on the Sun, such as solar storms, Earth and its magnetosphere can be affected. They are the cause of short-term space weather as well as long-term patterns comprising space climate.
When a solar flare or coronal mass ejection occurs, the Sun releases massive bursts of energy. Electrical charges and magnetic fields are sent three million miles per hour toward the Earth during these phenomena.
Depending on the Sun’s rotation, there are either recurrent storms or non-recurrent storms. Recurrent storms typically occur every 27 days. While solar storms can last for minutes to hours, geomagnetic storms can last for days or weeks in the magnetosphere and atmosphere.
Our planet’s magnetosphere and atmosphere shield us from high-energy particles and radiation. Consequently, humans and animals living on the surface of the Earth have little to no impact from solar flares.
This type of incident is more likely to occur during this phase of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle. Therefore, we must ask: are they really harmful? These blackouts may disrupt small aircraft and ships since GPS navigation systems can be affected. Other than that, there aren’t many concerns.
The Carrington Event occurred during solar cycle ten from 1 to 2 September 1859 and was the strongest geomagnetic storm in recorded history. There were strong auroral displays reported across the globe, and telegraph stations were ignited by sparks.
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