NOAA’s recent data reveals that the Sun is back to its old tricks, hurling solar storms directly towards our home planet.
On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm, or solar storm, watch. Recently gathered data shows that the Sun has developed three coronal holes on its solar surface which causes the phenomena.
While the event sounds apocalyptic, the appearance of solar holes is not a rare incident. In fact, it is a common occurrence particularly now that the Sun is undergoing solar minimum. The latter is described as a stage in the Sun’s eleven-year activity cycle wherein coronal holes show up regularly.
Coronal holes are open areas on the Sun’s surface that allow solar winds to escape quickly. This, in turn, blows electromagnetic radiation towards Earth, considering that the holes are in the right position.
Solar storms, depending on their strength, can affect our planet on different levels. It can disrupt electricity distribution that may lead to blackouts, damage satellites, and interrupt communication signals to name a few.
The warning released by NOAA was for G1 (extreme would be G5) geomagnetic storm, so there’s no reason for panic. The agency said that the effect of the solar wind to Earth would be minor. This may include minor power grid fluctuations and a bit of interference with satellite communication devices like satellite TVs and GPS.
While there has been no evidence gathered yet, it is also believed that solar storms are responsible for marine mammal beachings. It is said that the interference with our planet’s magnetic field also interferes with the internal compasses of these aquatic mammals like whales and dolphins.
Despite its potential severe effects on our planet, news of geomagnetic storms is not always bad. In fact, people who are located in high latitudes are considered fortunate because of the aurora borealis that will surely lit the skies.