Brace Yourselves, the Sun has Ejected a Big Solar Storm Heading for Earth
We are used to getting storm alerts from the meteorological department, but this time space experts have issued a special alert about an impending solar storm heading for planet Earth. Unlike the usual storms that we associated with the rain, this one is as a result of the sun.
The sun is said to have given out huge amount of radiation, which is currently speeding towards Earth. Before you panic, experts say that humans on earth are out of harm’s way. But it would be a good idea to keep a flashlight by your side, just in case. Solar storms have been known to knock out power grids, and interfere with radios and satellite communications.
According to scientists at the Space Weather Prediction Center, a combined energy resulting from two most recent solar events has sent out a strong geomagnetic storm into the solar system. This combined energy is expected to reach planet Earth by Saturday this week.
The layman explanation of this phenomenon would be: the sun is basically a big ball of gas, made up of 92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium. Once in a while the Sun spills out giant bursts of radiation referred to as the coronal mass ejections.
Sometimes these ejections are the result of solar flares; the most explosive solar event in the solar system. Over the last two days, the sun has spilled two of such big ejections, both resulting from solar flares, and with it comes a strong energy that is currently travelling fast towards planet Earth.
Space weather have issued an alert about the impending solar storm, but fell short of in saying what exactly the effect of this solar storm will be on Earth. Chad Myer, a meteorologist at CNN said, “This is a pretty strong solar storm, and we just won’t know until it gets here.”
According to expert’s, humans have little to worry about since Earth’s atmosphere should protect us from the radiation. However, these radiations are capable of knocking out power grids, interfere with radio and GPS communication. The interference also extends to commercial airlines and satellites in space.
Lika Guhathakurta, a Program Scientist at NASA, said, “People on the ground really don’t have to worry.” She went further to say that the solar storms don’t affect people on the ground, but astronauts should have a reason to be alarmed.
NASA is said to have the capability to protect its crew members on board of the International Space Station. Additionally, satellite operators can turn off crucial sensors on the satellites in a bid to mitigate the danger the solar storm could have to your smartphones or Wi-Fi connections. Though it is said, we should expect some few glitches, and should there be a major issues, scientists have taken precautions to ensure all the important parties are well prepared.
“FEMA has been notified of these events just in case,” said Thomas Berger, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, during a news conference held on Thursday as cited by CNN.
But on a more positive note. The solar storms can create beautiful aurora which will be a nice treat for the aurora watchers. Especially those within the northern parts of the US (Northeast & Alaska), living outside huge metropolitan cities. They will enjoy beautiful aurora watching on Thursday and Friday nights. For people in the southern parts of the US, they will not enjoy as splendid view as those in the northern parts.
To read more about the effects a solar storm that hit Earth back in 1989, in the province of Quebec, follow this link.