NASA s forecast: a solar storm will hit the Earth

The US space agency NASA predicts that between July 31 and August 1, a strong solar storm may reach our atmosphere. What is this phenomenon?

Solar storms can be very spectacular. This phenomenon is called coronal mass ejections (CME), and its result is the separation of huge clouds of plasma, consisting mainly of electrons and protons from the surface of the Sun.

Those from the clouds that fly in our direction, reach the surface of our planet usually after about 20-70 hours and encounter the Earth's magnetosphere. That's how magnetic storms arise. This phenomenon is potentially dangerous for all kinds of electronic devices and power grids. It also results in beautiful northern lights.

Solar storm - we discovered this phenomenon quite recently

The first solar flare, which is also the harbinger of the storm, was observed in 1705 by Stephen Gray. Another documented observation, however, took place over one hundred years later. The flare was noticed in 1859 by Richard Carrington, an American amateur astronomer. The world of astronomy learned much about solar storms, however, much later. For a very simple reason: to detect them, modern equipment is needed.

And this humanity was invented only in the last century. The first observations of the Sun in the X-ray and ultraviolet range were carried out with the use of research equipment placed in the V2 rocket, just after the end of the Second World War. Only at the end of the sixties, thanks to a great invention that turned out to be an artificial satellite, constant observation of our Sun began in the aforementioned range. Then it was discovered that much more violent things happen on the surface of the Sun than previously thought. A new phenomenon was classified then, which is still referred to today as the coronal mass ejection.

Is a solar storm dangerous?

Despite the panic that is often spread by popular media - this phenomenon is usually absolutely harmless. The only real threat is the intense ultraviolet radiation directed to our satellites orbiting the Earth. They are deprived of the protection provided by the Earth's magnetosphere, which can damage their solar panels, and other particles lead to failure of the electronics embedded in them.

It is much safer on Earth. A significant amount of particles is captured by the Earth's magnetosphere, then, in accordance with the rules governing our magnetic field, they move towards the pole. The result is spectacular polar auroras. Very intense storms also affect the operation of radio equipment, reducing their range. That is why during the intensive solar storm flights over the Arctic are canceled.

The most extreme case of the solar storm was recorded in March 1989. Then the storm-induced magnetosphere disruptions caused that the voltage induction phenomenon was induced in the high-voltage lines, which led to damage to many transformers. Never in the history of a very urgent observation of the Sun has a major incident been reported.

So do not be afraid of these mysterious storms. If by some miracle during one of them you will be in northern Scandinavia, dance and jump for joy. Because that means you have an amazing spectacle of auroras awaiting you. However, if you prefer spending time in warmer countries, sleep well. Our earth magnetosphere has protected us for thousands of years very effectively.

NASA's forecast: a solar storm will hit the Earth


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