NASA space weather models warn that a powerful explosion of energy in the form of solar wind from the sun may affect the Earth early on Tuesday. During a solar storm on Saturday, a huge filament was launched from the surface of the sun and appeared to be heading towards the earth. Solar filaments are huge plasma arcs that jump over the surface of the sun, leaving dark lines or bends in the image because they are not as hot as solar filaments. The filaments and their charged gas are held in place by the powerful magnetic field in the solar atmosphere, and they usually appear above sunspots, which are areas on the sun’s surface that are magnetically disturbed.
Although the solar wind is mostly deflected by the earth’s magnetic field, strong solar wind events may leak through the earth’s protective shield. At least, these particles will trigger aurora near the poles. The stronger the wind, the more the aurora moves from the poles to the mid-latitudes.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory found filaments in images from the weekend. Now, their computer forecasting models, such as the WSA-ENLIL solar wind forecasting system, show that it almost directly hit the earth early on Tuesday. But, just like the computer forecast models used by meteorologists on Earth, forecasts will continue to be refined over time to pinpoint exactly what impact (if any) this energy will have if it travels through the solar system.
Intense coronal mass ejection, also called “CME” for short, can cause problems on Earth. Coronal mass ejection usually releases a large amount of plasma from the solar corona after a solar flare occurs in the solar wind. These huge plasma explosions originate from the highly distorted magnetic field structure on the sun. When these explosions occur in areas of active sunspots on the sun, they are usually seen related to large solar flares. Some fast CMEs can reach the earth in just 14 hours, while others may take several days. According to the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Forecast Center (SWPC), “The first sign of a CME hitting the Earth’s environment is a jump in plasma density due to the passage of shock waves.” Forecasters use so-called coronagraphs, which block the sun. Very bright discs, so they can determine the size, speed, direction and density of the CME. These tools will be used to see if solar events related to the earth have occurred.
Although generally known for weather forecasts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Weather Service (NWS) are also responsible for “space weather.” Although there are private companies and other agencies to monitor and forecast space weather, the official source of space environmental warnings and warnings is SWPC. SWPC is located in Boulder, Colorado and is the service center of NWS (part of NOAA). The Space Weather Forecast Center is also one of the nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), which monitors current space weather activities 24/7, 365 days a year.
SWPC will further evaluate to see if the Earth needs any space weather advice. Currently, SWPC has released the “G1” geomagnetic storm watch on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition to illuminating the aurora in the northern hemisphere further south than usual, the G1 storm may also cause weak grid fluctuations. It may also have a minor impact on satellite operations and communication systems.
If a more serious impact is expected, SWPC will issue a more serious warning. A strong solar storm directly affects the earth and may have a catastrophic impact on modern life, damaging electronic equipment, power transmission and power generation systems, and satellites and spacecraft orbiting the earth.
With this solar wind event, the northern lights may be strong at northern latitudes and may appear more southerly than usual. One of the better ways to track aurora activity is through the free Aurorasaurus app. Aurorasaurus allows users to share aurora observations and pictures, while also issuing auroral warnings to other users.
Experts say that we are now entering an active solar cycle, and in the next few months, such events will increase with increasing frequency and intensity.