Wednesday 16 March 2022
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center and the UK Met Office have issued a disturbing prediction: Earth may be the victim of a “maximum cycle of activity” by the sun, “which means sunspots and flares will become more and more constant”.
Moreover, it was observed thatIf any of those ‘eruptions’ that the Sun is now experiencing are directed at the Earth, their effects will be felt here, in the form of a solar storm.”
Specifically, this could happen in the coming days, as solar activity is expected to be “somewhat unstable, with ‘moderate and moderate’ geomagnetic storms over the next few days.”
Anyway, solar storms are somewhat more common than thought, and in fact, we’ve had several of them since mid-January. What’s more, just a few days ago, “moderate and moderate geomagnetic phenomena” of the same levels expected this week were recorded.
The main consequence of these phenomena is the appearance of the aurora borealis, which can be seen at unusual heights. There may also be small interruptions in radio signals or power grids at higher latitudes, although in no way can these solar storms have direct consequences for life. Something a little different could happen with satellites: some would have to change their course to avoid potential damage.
Despite their name, solar storms are very different from those that occur on Earth. The Sun’s intense magnetic activity causes violent bursts of plasma to travel through space at incredible speeds. The solar atmosphere consists of gases that are completely ionized due to the high temperatures in which they are, which makes them an ideal conductor of electric currents.
Sometimes there are discharges, which we know as solar storms. They can present as flares, such as coronal mass ejection (CME) or both at the same time; These manifestations could have consequences for the environment of the solar system.
But our planet has a natural protection: the magnetic field. Thus, the northern lights are the flashy result of the deformation of this shield upon receiving the impact of these energetic particles.