Solar storm expected to hit Earth, but likely 'weak,' forecasters say

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 04:47:18 GMT
Space Daily

Washington DC (UPI) Aug 2, 2021 A solar storm birthed from a hole in the sun's atmosphere is...

A solar storm birthed from a hole in the sun's atmosphere is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field Wednesday.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center are calling for a chance of a geomagnetic storm, caused by a southern hole in the sun's atmosphere.

"Coronal holes can develop at any time and location on the Sun, but are more common and persistent during the years around solar minimum," according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.

"Solar wind leaving through the center of a coronal hole travels much faster, up to 500 miles per second. When these solar wind particles reach the earth - which takes two to four days, depending on their speed - modest geomagnetic storms can result. High-speed wind gusts can also disturb satellites in earth orbit," according to Exploratorium, a San Francisco-based science museum.

Wednesday's solar storm is classified as "Weak," according to NOAA scientists.

The G1 storm has the potential to have minor impacts on power grids and could affect some satellite functions, including those for mobile devices and GPS systems.

Stronger geomagnetic storms can disrupt the planet's magnetic field enough to knock satellites out of orbit.

In February, 40 Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX were hit by a solar storm and ended up re-entering the atmosphere before burning up.

A project investigating the effect of solar storms on railway signals will be presented this week at the National Astronomy Meeting by Cameron Patterson, a PhD student at Lancaster University.

The sun's tendency to affect technology on Earth, as well as in space, is known as space weather.