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The Earth has been suffering multiple solar storms as a result of coronal mass ejection (CME) bursts on the Sun. Luckily, these solar storms so far have been minor to moderate and we have escaped any major catastrophe. However, the solar storm 2022 story is not over by any stretch of the imagination. A very unique type of solar storm is likely to hit the Earth tomorrow, September 17, which can prove to be dangerous. Unlike the solar storms which are caused by solar flare eruptions and CME bursts, this one is being caused due to creation of co-rotating interaction regions (CIR) on the planet’s magnetosphere. What is this CIR and how can these solar storms affect us? Read on to find out.
This development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website “NOAA forecasters say that a CIR (co-rotating interaction region) could hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sept. 17th”.
Explaining what CIR exactly are, it added, “CIRs are transition zones between slow- and fast-moving solar wind streams. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, producing shock-like structures that can mimic CMEs”.
All of this information is being collected in real time through some amazing tech. NOAA monitors the solar storms and Sun’s behavior using its DSCOVR satellite which became operational in 2016. The recovered data is then run through the computers at the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared. The different measurements are done on temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of the solar particles.
While it is impossible to calculate the intensity of this incoming solar storm, it can be expected that the overall impact would be higher than the usual solar storms. This happens because the CIR rips open the magnetosphere and allows easier passage of the solar particles. A solar storm between G2-class and G3-class can be expected, although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has not released any advisory regarding this. We should be aware that a strong solar storm can disrupt GPS and cause shortwave radio frequency blackouts. A severe solar storm can even interrupt mobile data, internet reception and cause power grid failure. However, such a strong solar storm has not been seen since the Carrington event in 1859.
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