The Sun has thrown solar particles towards the Earth which can cause a powerful CME storm today. Know if it can cause radio blackouts.
A couple of days ago, the Sun virtually exploded. A filament of magnetism erupted on the surface of our star and it shot up thousands of kilometers in the sky. It was spotted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) telescope DSCOVR and it reported that magnetized solar particles, also known as coronal mass ejections (CME) were thrown in the direction of the Earth. If our planet faces the full brunt of this CME storm, it can cause widespread blackouts, GPS disruptions and even make mobile phone and Internet networks temporarily inaccessible. Read on to know the likelihood of a CME storm and the consequences it can bring to Earth.
The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which stated, “A CME is heading for Earth and it could graze our planet’s magnetic field on Oct. 7th or 8th. The storm cloud was hurled into space on Oct. 4th by an erupting filament of magnetism in the sun’s southern hemisphere”. It is not confirmed the intensity of the storm that Earth might have to endure, but it can cause anywhere from G1-class to G3-class solar disturbance.
Earth might face a powerful CME storm
There is one twist in the story, however. It is not entirely sure whether this storm will strike the Earth or not. How the prediction system works is that the DSCOVR telescope observes any new activity on the Sun and tracks the direction and speed of eruption, along with other metrics like intensity, magnetism and so on. This data is then added to graphs and prediction models which further calculate the path and assesses whether the solar particles can hit the Earth and also gauges the intensity of the storm.
However, in this particular case, the NOAA telescope was not able to completely watch the CME storm due to confusion with other nearby-in-time CMEs and it caused gaps in the coronagraph. As a result, it is not possible to be certain whether the Earth will get hit by the storm- it may graze us or it may miss us entirely.
However, if it does end up hitting us, the CME storm can cause shortwave radio blackouts in the daylight areas of the Earth and disrupt GPS services. Further, a particularly strong storm can also knock out mobile networks which can be a huge concern.