This event does not pose a major risk, but the aurora could be accompanied by some radio and GPS interference.
Astronomers who keep a close eye on the Sun have just announced that space weather could get stormy. Specialists have announced that a coronal mass ejection ejected from the star on July 15 is heading straight for Earth at this very moment; It could disrupt radio waves and the GPS network when it hits Earth’s magnetic field on July 20 or 21.
The sun is currently nearing the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. The star’s magnetic field is becoming increasingly turbulent, leading to the appearance of a large number of sunspots.
We can also see nascent solar filaments; they are unstable accumulations of matter that are trapped by the magnetic field in the form of plasma. It’s these spectacular whorls that sometimes stand out in certain photos at the edge of the star.
But if they excite astrophotographers, they can also be associated with solar flares and cause coronal mass ejections. The latter are large bubbles of plasma thrown in a specific direction by the star’s activity, and that is exactly what happened on June 10th.
Fortunately, astrophotographer Miguel Caro was also in the ranks at that very moment; he managed to capture extraordinary images of this phenomenon of Dantesque proportions. You can find his excellent work and even order a reproduction from him Personal website.
Some potential disruptions but no major risks
Since then, this mass has traveled directly to Earth. Its speed is moderate, but it could still have a significant impact on our planet. Specialists believe it could create a G1 class geomagnetic storm.
This means that it is a small rash, but it can have some noticeable consequences. It should start with stunning Auroras visible at high latitudes. However, some disturbing phenomena might also occur.
According to the official definition, these events can cause “small fluctuations in the power grid”. They may also have “minor impacts on the operation of satellites”. Radio signal interference may also occur in some areas. The GPS network is likely to experience some minor malfunctions during this time.
There is currently a huge #Meaning visible on the #Sun. That’s impressive, but it was spectacular to see a very fast-moving part of it through my small refractor telescope – how it jumped out and detached to the side.
– dr Sebastian Voltmer (@SeVoSpace) July 17, 2022
So, by and large, humanity can rest easy; There is no danger that this coronal mass ejection will ring the death knell of civilization as we know it. But without giving in to catastrophe, we must also remember that this is a very real and not insignificant possibility. Just think of the Carrington event to see for yourself (see our article).
Unfortunately, there are currently no absolute countermeasures to defend against these events. Therefore, while mankind waits for the specialists to find a solution, it remains at the mercy of the whims of the sun.
All that remains is to keep your fingers crossed that this sword of Damocles doesn’t move an inch and the sun stays wise as we near the peak of activity expected in 2025.