On Sunday, Earth’s magnetic field was blasted by a solar wind stream that reached speeds of more than 600 kilometers (372 miles) per second.
Although this is nothing too alarming – solar storms often striking our planet and triggering spectacular auroras – strangely enough, this storm was completely unexpected.
“This event was not in the forecast, so the resulting auroras were a surprise.” This was reported by SpaceWeather.
The solar wind occurs when a stream of high-energy particles and plasma can no longer be held back by the Sun’s gravity and blast toward Earth.
There are a lot of We still don’t know how our sun worksbut these emissions are thought to come from large bright spots on the Sun known as “crown holes,” and scientists are doing a great job of tracking them from here on Earth.
Through this monitoring, they are able to create space weather “forecasts” that predict not only when solar storms, or solar flares known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), will come our way, but also how strong they will be.
But this does not mean that we still can’t be surprised like we did on the weekend.
early sunday NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) recorded light solar wind fluxes that increased significantly and unexpectedly during the day.
The cause of this solar storm is still unknown, but SpaceWeather speculates that it may be the early arrival of the solar wind, which is expected to arrive two days later from an equatorial hole in the Sun’s atmosphere.
Or it could have been a missed coronal mass ejection (CME).
“Discontinuity in solar wind data At 0045 UT August 7 points to a shock wave embedded in the solar wind,” Space Weather writes.
“These days, the active sun produces so many small bursts that it’s easy to miss faint CMEs headed for Earth.”
At the time of writing, the high-speed solar wind continues to slam into Earth’s magnetic field, and records show it reached 551.3 kilometers (343 miles) per second as of 0406 UTC (0006 ET) on August 9.
The good news is that the solar wind is safely shielded by our planet’s atmosphere and is not harmful to us on Earth.
When it’s strong, it can affects our technologiescauses problems with telecommunication satellites and in extreme cases power grids.
These winds were classified as mild G2 solar storms – storms are ranked as G1 at the lowest point on the scale up to G5, which is a strong solar storm.
G2 storms can affect high-latitude energy systems and affect spacecraft orbit predictions, According to Space Weather.
If this all sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen a lot of solar storms this year, with the Sun now in its active phase. 11 year solar cycle.
They hit us already this year Class X flares and huge crown holes, 2.5 times the size of the Earth. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even know it was happening.
Unless you’re an aurora watcher, that is.
Fortunately, Space Weather Warning Service watchers received information about the unexpected storm and the resulting powerful auroras and Stevewas seen As far south as Pennsylvania.
“I was getting ready to go to bed when the storm started,” – astrophotographer Ruslan Merzlyakov awned Space Weather.
“Hurrying to the beach at Nykøbing Mors, I managed to capture the first summer auroras in Denmark in 5 years.”
Who knows what the rest of the week has in store for us.
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