A solar storm will likely hit Earth today, 3 August, as solar winds from a hole in the Sun’s atmosphere are set to hit Earth, triggering a minor geomagnetic storm.
More recently, scientists have warned humans that we should be trying to protect our planet against dangerous solar weather. Especially with the onset of our current warmer climates.
Thankfully, the storm produced today will be weak. However, it does have the potential to cause very minor disruptions to power grids, migrations of animals, and satellite functions — including mobile devices and GPS systems.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said these conditions were “likely” to occur today so let’s take a look at what to expect…
Solar storm from the Sun to hit Earth Wednesday
Researchers recently spotted a ‘hole’ in the southern atmosphere of the Sun which means debris will escape and take anywhere between 15-18 hours to reach the Earth. The interaction of the debris with the magnetic field of the planet will result in a geomagnetic storm, according to Live Science.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center made the storm prediction after discovering that “gaseous material is flowing from a southern hole in the sun’s atmosphere,” as per spaceweather.com.
Coronal holes are areas in the sun’s upper atmosphere where the Sun’s gas is cooler and less dense, which means that the solar wind has the ability to escape, as per reports.
They appear as dark patches on ultraviolet and X-ray images and can form at any time. Live Science reports that these storms often occur at the time of solar minimum, and at the moment we are currently moving towards the solar maximum.
How strong will the solar storm be?
NOAA’s scale for solar weather starts at G1, which is what the storm today is expected to be, and it is described as “minor”.
However, the scale runs all the way to G5 which is described as an “extreme” geomagnetic storm and can cause major disruptions to power, radio signals and satellite navigation. Extreme solar storms like this usually only occur an average of four days in each of the Sun’s 11-year cycles as per The Independent.
Today’s solar storm will likely result in a display of Northern Lights which can be seen mainly in the US, particularly in Michigan and Maine. Thankfully, the actual impact of today’s storm will be extremely minimal.