Space weather seems to be having a moment as a sun flare is headed towards the earth and is expected to hit it on July 19.
The solar flare can result into a massive geomagnetic storm, leading to radio blackouts, disruption in GPS signals and fluctuation in voltage.
What is a solar flare? As explained by the NASA, when sunspots release magnetic energy, the resulting intense burst of radiation is known as a solar flare. Solar flares are the largest explosive events in space and can last from minutes to hours.
How is a sun flare seen? Sun flares are visible due to the photons they produce on nearly every wavelength of the light spectrum. The flares are monitored through x-rays and optical light.
To understand more about what a solar flare is, check out this video:
What causes a geomagnetic storm? When an incoming solar flare interacts with earth’s magnetic field, a geomagnetic storm occurs on earth.
Impact of the incoming solar flare: Solar flares are of five different types- A, B, C, M, and X. The incoming flare is of the M-class.
The geomagnetic storm caused by the incoming M-class flare can lead to:
Space weather physicist, Dr Tamitha Skov tweeted a video of the M-class flare and explained: “The long snake-like filament cartwheeled its way off the sun in a stunning ballet. The magnetic orientation of this earth-directed solar storm is going to be tough to predict.G2-level (possibly G3) conditions may occur if the magnetic field of this storm is oriented southward.”
The long snake-like filament cartwheeled its way off the #Sun in a stunning ballet. The magnetic orientation of this Earth-directed #solarstorm is going to tough to predict. G2-level (possibly G3) conditions may occur if the magnetic field of this storm is oriented southward! pic.twitter.com/SNAZGMmqzi— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) July 16, 2022
Apart from the M-class flare, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center has forecast that there is a 40-45% chance of an S1 solar radiation storm to hit earth within the next 3 days.