Geomagnetic storm expected to hit Earth after halo eruption on Sun today

In North America, the storm could cause auroras stretching to Illinois or Oregon, while they might be visible from the north of Scotland as well.

Geomagnetic storm expected to hit Earth after halo eruption on Sun today
Coronal Mass Ejections are bursts of charged particles ejected from the Sun's atmosphere (corona). (Reuters)

Earth is likely to face the brunt of a geomagnetic storm as a full halo eruption from the Sun hits on Saturday. The Coronal Mass Ejection is forecast to hit Earth’s magnetic field after the storm cloud hurtled at a staggering pace from the Sun on Thursday.

The Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India under the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata notified the large trans-equatorial coronal hole that is observed on the Sun, which is spewing solar wind and is likely to interact with Earth’s magnetosphere.

Coronal Mass Ejections are bursts of charged particles ejected from the Sun’s atmosphere (corona). When these particles interact with Earth’s magnetic field, they create breathtaking auroras, but can also wreak havoc on electrical grids or disrupt spacecraft operations and satellite communications.

Earth was hit by solar winds resulting from the breaking of a gigantic canyon of fire filament on the Sun. Filaments on the sun are clouds made of solar material and suspended over the star due to magnetic forces. These are very unstable and can last for days or weeks.

SpaceWeather.com reported that the filaments were first spotted around July 12 after astronomers noticed dark lines against the Sun’s background. On July 15, a filament travelled to the Sun’s northern hemisphere and erupted. This caused the canyon of fire, which shot-out solar material towards Earth.

In North America, the storm could cause auroras stretching to Illinois or Oregon, while they might be visible from the north of Scotland as well. Radio propagation at high latitudes, including New York and Idaho in the US and northern areas of the United Kingdom, could also be affected. Some migratory animals could be hit as some of these animals use the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation.

The storm comes as the Sun’s activity increases as part of a regular, 11-year solar cycle. 

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