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Geomagnetic storm ALERT: Solar flare lands ‘direct hit’ on Earth, may affect electricity grids, satellites

DNA logo DNA 12-10-2021 (DNA Web Desk)
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An outburst on the sun has landed a "direct hit" on Earth, and the geomagnetic storm may cause disruptions in the functioning of the power grids in northern latitudes. It is to be noted that a geomagnetic storm warning was issued on Sunday for Monday and Tuesday by the Space Weather Prediction Center, which is a part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

According to the warning issued by  Space Weather Prediction Center the geomagnetic storm could disrupt power grids in some areas, and the functioning of satellites too. The warning, however, noted that these effects will not be significant.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Space Weather Service [SWS] said the Earth is "is currently under the influence of a full-halo CME triggered by a M1.6 flare" and the visibility of auroras would increase if geometric storms continue through the night.

According to the SWS, the coronal mass ejection (CME) arrived on October 11 at around 5pm universal time (UT). "On the local night of 11 October (and maybe 12 October), aurora may be visible from Tasmania, the coastline of Victoria and the southwest coast of Western Australia," the Space Weather Service said.

The UK Met Office said that the aurora could also be visible in some parts of the country. "On the 11 October a coronal mass ejection is expected to arrive at Earth, with minor to moderate geomagnetic storms likely, resulting in enhanced auroral activity during 11 October," The Met Office said.

"There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but cloud breaks and therefore sightings are more likely in Northern Ireland. Minor storms may continue into 12 October, before a fast wind from a coronal hole may arrive, perhaps continuing the rather active period of geomagnetic activity," it added.

Coronal mass ejections, which can stretch over miles, are clouds of solar plasma and magnetic fields released into space after a solar eruption.

Space scientists have ranked solar storms on a scale of G1 to G5, with stronger storms having the potential to cause radio blackouts.

World's premier space agency NASA describes a geomagnetic storm as an interaction in magnetosphere of Earth. “When a coronal mass ejection or high-speed stream arrives at Earth it buffets the magnetosphere," NASA said.

“If the arriving solar magnetic field is directed southward it interacts strongly with the oppositely oriented magnetic field of the Earth. The Earth's magnetic field is then peeled open like an onion allowing energetic solar wind particles to stream down the field lines to hit the atmosphere over the poles,"it added.

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