A CME storm is will strike Earth today, says NOAA. Know how it is different from a solar storm and how it will affect us.
The technologically marvellous DSCOVR satellite of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is doing a stellar job of predicting solar storms and other Sun-based threats well before they strike, giving us ample warning. This tech marvel measures temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of the solar particles and watches out for any exploding sunspots or erupting solar flares that can be directed at the Earth. And according to its latest prediction a coronal mass ejection storm or CME storm is going to strike Earth today, September 24. The question that arises is how different and dangerous a solar storm is from a CME storm and should we be worried? Read on to find out.
What is a CME storm?
In simple terms, a CME storm is a type of solar storm that is caused by solar particles striking the magnetosphere. There are many ways the Sun can cause a solar storm like effect on Earth. The most common among them are solar flare induced solar storms where the harsh radiation and magnetic charge from a solar flare eruption is hurled towards the Earth. Another is the CIR-activated solar storm. CIR (co-rotating interaction region) are the rips in the magnetosphere caused when solar winds with different speed or orientation approach the Earth at the same time. It weakens the magnetosphere, letting in more solar radiation than normal and causes a solar storm.
In comparison, the CME storm is caused when a sunspot explodes and sends solar particles (plasma) along with high magnetic and radiation waves. The presence of solar particles slows down the speed and it generally takes the storm 24-48 hours to reach Earth. But once it reaches, it can cause devastating impact.
CME storm to strike the Earth today
The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which wrote on its website, “NOAA forecasters say that minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible on Sept. 24th when a high-speed stream of solar wind is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. The gaseous material is flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun’s atmosphere”.
A G-1 class CME storm is considered to be a minor one but it can still cause regional shortwave radio blackouts and temporary GPS disruption. This can affect travelers looking to board an airplane or ship in the affected area.