Solar storm coming? High chances of solar flare eruption today, NOAA issues warning
The solar storm on Valentines day is still making headlines. Meanwhile, the Sun is already
The solar storm on Valentine's day is still making headlines. Meanwhile, the Sun is already preparing its next assault. The month of February has been a turbulent one for the Earth. There have been multiple solar storm events and one X-class solar flare eruption so far this month. And now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued another warning, February 16. There is a high chance of a solar flare eruption today. This can cause radio blackouts on Earth and if the flare is intense enough, it can also release a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud towards the Earth and cause spark a solar storm.
The report comes from SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, â€œNOAA forecasters say there is a 45% chance of M-class solar flares and a 10% chance of X-flares today, Feb. 16th. The likely source would be big sunspot AR3226, which has an unstable delta-class magnetic field and is directly facing Earthâ€. The sunspot AR322 has been on the Earth-facing solar disk for a while and it has been growing steadily.
Brewing solar storm makes NOAA issue warning
The forecast points majorly towards an M-class solar flare eruption, which is not as bad as an X-class flare. However, it can still cause some damage. Solar flares blast a huge wave of X-ray, gamma rays and magnetic energy that often interferes with various satellite-based wireless waves. This results in disruptions of GPS services as well as low frequency radio waves which are used by drone operators, ham radio operators and emergency service providers. In extreme cases, a powerful solar flare can also damage power grids.
Further, solar flare eruptions often release coronal mass ejection (CME) particles in space which can send another wave of solar storm to the Earth. These are more dangerous as they can damage satellites, mobile phone networks, internet services, power grids as well as ground-based electronic instruments, especially the critical ones such as pacemakers and supercomputers. At present, NOAA is keeping a vigilant eye on the sunspots to observe the situation.
While this is just a prediction for now, one solar storm is already headed for the Earth. A magnetic filament released CME cloud towards the Earth yesterday, February 15, which is expected to reach the Earth in the late hours of February 17 or early hours of February 18. Early predictions say that it could be a G2-class solar storm, which would make it the strongest solar storm of 2023 so far.