Geomagnetic storm alert: a solar flare reaches Earth today Monday

Active sunspot AR2882 erupted on Saturday, October 9, 2021, producing a strong M1.6-class solar flare and a coronal mass ejection, or CME, directed at Earth. NWS-NOAA space weather meteorologists have modeled his trajectory and have confirmed that probably will arrive today on October 11, reports the expert Francisco Martín León on his Meteored blog.

“The impact could cause geomagnetic storms of class G1 to G2. If a moderately strong G2 storm materializes, sky watchers in the United States could see auroras as far south as a line connecting New York to Oregon. It is probable that auroras are found in high latitudes in Europe, with a small possibility that they reach mid-latitudes “, explains the meteorologist and coordinator of the Journal of the Amateur of Meteorology (RAM).

It is extremely unlikely, however, that we can see auroras in Spain, adds Martín. “Under optimal conditions, they could become visible from latitudes such as Tasmania in Australia, Scotland, southern Sweden, and the Baltic states. The northern states of the US should also stay alert as they approach dusk in case of that we have expected geomagnetic storm conditions“.

What is a solar storm

Solar flares are massive explosions of electromagnetic radiation, plasma, and charged particles in the Sun’s outer atmosphere They are triggered by the sudden release of energy stored in magnetic fields that occur around visible sunspots.

These are the origin of solar storms, which can pose a danger to astronauts, spacecraft and technological systems on the ground, such as electrical power grids and radio communications.

First, the solar flare. These massive bursts of electromagnetic radiation occur in the active parts of the sun, where magnetic reconnection occurs. At the time of the solar eruption, black spots can be observed on the surface of the star, where plasma outbreaks also begin.

Afterwards, the solar flare, which are those radiations expelled by the star that cover a large field in the spectrum. In fact, they can range from gamma rays to radio waves. They travel the entire width of space and collide with the closest bodies. They only take to reach the ground, and generate its consequences, 8 minutes.

And the third stage is called “coronal mass ejection“, moment in which plasma is expelled from the sun. If during this ejection, the plasma is expelled in the direction of the earth, this is when it can cause damage to satellites and telecommunications. However, it happens that in most cases the earth’s atmosphere protects the earth from these radiations.

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