A solar storm will hit Earth tomorrow. What consequences will it have? – Teach me about Science

According to estimates from the Space Weather Prediction Center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a solar storm will hit Earth tomorrow. This disturbance that our planet will experience comes from high-speed solar wind currents from a coronal hole in the Sun.

As explained by NASA, coronal holes are regions of the solar corona (the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere) where the magnetic field extends into space instead of returning to the surface; particles moving along those magnetic fields can leave the sun instead of being trapped.

The solar wind is precisely this flow of particles expelled from the outermost layer of the Sun. In reality, it is defined as a plasma, a very hot and ionized gas that is expelled in large explosions towards the solar system.

For its part, the strong magnetic field that surrounds our planet (magnetosphere) protects us from these events; when solar wind particles collide with the magnetosphere they cannot enter and surround it, however the extremely energetic particles can slightly compress the magnetic field and filter down field lines to hit the atmosphere near the poles.

This interaction is the cause of the dazzling northern lights, and they are also capable of interrupting power networks, communications and GPS, the consequences depending on the intensity of the phenomenon.

These events are classified with letters and numbers according to their level of danger and the intensity cycle of our star, which consists of five possible values ​​(G-1 to G-5,) in this case, tomorrow a G-1 class geomagnetic storm.

G-1 corresponds to the lowest category and it is indicated that this phenomenon has the capacity to cause weak fluctuations in electrical transmission and telecommunication systems, minor effects on the operation of space satellites, and certain migratory animals may be affected from this classification, since that its orientation is based on the Earth’s magnetic field. For its part, the auroras produced by a G-1 class geomagnetic storm cause auroras at high altitudes.

As you can see, telecommunications, navigation and transport systems, satellites, electrical networks and even migratory animals can be affected by these events, however, given the intensity expected for tomorrow, the repercussions will be minimal.

On the other hand, the strongest geomagnetic storms can generate much more important disturbances, to the point of completely disrupting the electrical transmission systems, generating significant complications of the orientation and tracking of satellites that could even send them back to Earth.

Fuel networks are blocked along with navigation by low frequency signals (GPS) and auroras would be observed at lower and more unusual latitudes. All this would lead to a collapse on the planet, which is why constant monitoring of these events is very important.

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