Tomorrow there will be a solar storm caused by a "hole" in the sun

Tomorrow there will be a solar storm caused by a hole in the sun

They come from a "hole" in the Sun's atmosphere. These are the high-speed winds that will hit the Earth's magnetic field in the next few days, triggering a geomagnetic storm. Fortunately, "gaseous material flowing from a southern hole in the solar atmosphere" will trigger a weak, or "minor" storm, according to meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (SWPC) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). , classified with the acronym G1. That is to say, it will likely cause only slight fluctuations in power grids and have very little impact on some satellite functions, including those for GPS systems. This storm, remember, comes when the Sun has entered its most active phase of its solar cycle of about 11 years. Its activity, in fact, will increase steadily for the next few years, peaking in 2025, before decreasing again.

The holes in the solar corona, remember, are areas of the upper atmosphere of our star where the plasma is colder and less dense. Not only that: they also represent the points where the magnetic field lines, instead of folding in on themselves, radiate into space, thus allowing materials to escape at speeds that, according to some estimates, can reach 2.9 million kilometers. timetables. This flurry of solar debris (or coronal mass ejection, Cme) when it gets close to planets with strong magnetic fields like ours (usually taking between 15 and 18 hours to reach it), is absorbed, triggering geomagnetic storms. During these storms, the Earth's magnetic field is compressed by waves of highly energetic particles that, near the poles, agitate molecules in the atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of light to create auroras.

More powerful geomagnetic storms, on the other hand, could interrupt the Earth's magnetic field, to the point of paralyzing the internet, or even causing satellites to fall on our planet. For example, as Live Science recalls, the largest solar storm ever seen was in 1859, called the "Carrington Event" (named after the English astronomer Richard Carrington), which caused serious problems for telegraph systems around the world and produced auroras visible at unusual latitudes, as far as the Caribbean. If such an event were to happen now, NASA experts explain, it would cause billions of dollars in damage and cause widespread blackouts, much like the 1989 solar storm that caused blackouts across the Canadian province of Quebec.