WATCH OUT: Lunch time today the electric grid, satellite communications and radio signal might glitch out. It’s when NASA predicts a Solar Flare should hit the Earth.
BREAKING REPORT: Massive solar storm may possibly slam Earth on Thursday; event could trigger large scale blackouts and disrupt GPS, satellite communications, electrical and radio signals.— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) August 20, 2020
A solar flare is a sudden flash of brightness observed over the Sun’s surface, which is equivalent to 160,000,000,000 megatons of TNT! They are often, but not always (and no one knows why not), followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection (CME).The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event.
When the ejection is directed towards Earth and reaches it as an interplanetary CME, the shock wave of this traveling mass of solar energetic particles causes a geomagnetic storm. This can disrupt Earth’s magnetosphere, compressing it on the day side (where the sun is shining) and extending the night-side magnetic tail.
When the magnetosphere reconnects on the nightside, it releases terawatts of energy back towards the Earth’s upper atmosphere. X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth’s ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications.
These radiation particles can produce their own magnetic fields, which can modify the Earth’s magnetic field and affect compass readings, induce electricity in long pipelines, or produce electrical surges in power grids leading to brownouts and blackouts.
It’s likely that radio propagation and GPS reception will be affected once the solar storm.
Put your electrics in a Faraday Cage – or this household item! SRC GUIDE: SURVIVE A SOLAR FLARE
The Sun is in active, producing multiple bright regions flaring and launching solar storms. One of these solar storms is partly Earth-directed and should impact Earth late on August 19 or by midday August 20. This storm is the first “fast” solar storm of this new cycle (compared to the slower, weaker storms during solar minimum).
AURORA: As such it could give us our best chance of aurora views yet down to mid-latitudes! On top of that we are managing to stay in the low 70s for solar flux, despite having a spotless Sun so amateur radio operators should enjoy marginal radio propagation on Earth’s dayside over this next week.
Of course radio propagation and GPS reception will be affected once the solar storm hits, but overall the boost in activity lately is a sure sign of Solar Cycle 25 really getting underway!
WE ARE CURRENTLY IN A GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM – Roughly every 11 years, the Sun’s magnetic field completely flips. This means that the Sun’s north and south poles switch places. It then takes approximately another 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to flip back again.
The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields. As the magnetic fields change, so does the amount of activity on the Sun’s surface.
One way to track the solar cycle is by counting the number of sunspots. The beginning of a solar cycle is a solar minimum, when the Sun has the least sunspots. Over time, solar activity—and the number of sunspots—increases. The middle of the solar cycle is the solar maximum, or when the Sun has the most sunspots. As the cycle ends, it fades back to the solar minimum and then a new cycle begins. This not only leads to cooling events but it affects volcanic and tectonic action.*
Seismic and Volcanic activity has been correlated to changes in our sun.
The recent global uptick in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions is likely attributed to the drop-off in solar activity, the increase in coronal holes, a waning magnetosphere, and the influx of Cosmic Rays penetrating silica-rich magma.
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