On Thursday, a “cannibal” solar flare may consume a jet of “dark plasma” from the sun, which might trigger an aurora display visible throughout much of the United States.
On Sunday, a coronal mass ejection (CME) was spotted for the first time as it erupted from a sunspot on the sun’s surface at a speed of 1.3 million mph, ripping through the sun’s atmosphere.
When the Sun’s tangled magnetic field lines suddenly shift, they unleash a great deal of energy in the form of a CME, which is a cloud of charged matter known as plasma. They occur often, but when directed toward Earth, they can cause geomagnetic storms when they impact with our planet’s magnetic field.
Power grid fluctuations and disruptions to radio navigation are both possible results of geomagnetic storms. A second coronal mass ejection (CME) was generated on Monday by the breakdown of a massive magnetic filament and ejected from the sun.
It is expected that the second eruption will gain momentum and speed until it eventually overtakes the first in a process known as CME cannibalization. A G3 geomagnetic storm, which happens when planets with strong magnetic fields like Earth absorb solar material from CMEs, was predicted to erupt when the cannibal CME reached Earth.
Depending on their intensity, geomagnetic storms are ranked from G1 to G5. In terms of storm intensity, a G3 is quite significant. Intermittent issues with low-frequency and satellite navigation, greater drag on satellites in low-Earth orbit, and the potential need for voltage corrections in some power networks are all possible consequences of G3 storms.
Normal human activities are rarely disrupted by these storms, but extreme weather can lead to problems like power outages. Earlier this year, many SpaceX satellites experienced problems during a geomagnetic storm and were forced to return to Earth.
The Met Office, Britain’s official weather office, has forecast that Thursday’s geomagnetic storm will be quite small and would not have any major effects on the country.
The storm may potentially bring aurora borealis sightings to the mainland United States, according to NOAA’s forecast. Extremely unusually, the northern lights could be seen as far south as Illinois and Oregon.