Solar Storm Approaching Earth Could Disrupt Radio Signals

A strong X-class solar flare unleashed on New Year’s Eve sped toward Earth as a solar storm. According to experts, auroras and disturbances in radio signals were expected to begin a few days later.

In an X post, space weather researcher Tamitha Skov predicted the storm would be strong but short-lived.

A solar flare is an explosive burst of energy released from the sun’s surface that causes a tremendous outburst of electromagnetic radiation, often X-rays. When the magnetic fields of a sunspot become entangled or rearranged, they are released into space.

One way to categorize these energetic bursts is by their intensity.

According to astrophysics researcher at Madrid’s Instituto Nacional de Técnica, Gonzalo José Carracedo Carballal, the A-class flares are the weakest, followed by the B-class, C-class, M-class, and X-class flares in intensity.

According to Jesse Woodroffe of the Heliophysics Division at NASA, solar flares are about one million times more powerful than a nuclear bomb. Contrarily, a solar flare disperses its energy across enormous distances, but a nuclear blast is spatially and temporally quite concentrated.

Nevertheless, the X-class flare on New Year’s Eve was the most powerful one recorded since the beginning of the latest solar cycle in December 2019. They are anticipated to continue into October 2024.

According to NASA, the Sun ejects massive bubbles of coronal plasma called coronal mass ejections (CME) over many hours. These CMEs are laced with powerful magnetic field lines. Scientists call CMEs “flux ropes” because of their twisted appearance. Although slower ejections may take many days to reach Earth, faster ones may reach our planet in a few hours.

Our planet is mostly shielded from these projections by its magnetosphere, ionosphere, and atmosphere. Nevertheless, power outages and geomagnetic storms may still be caused by them.

The sunspot area AR3536, from which the solar propulsion was initiated, does not face Earth. For that reason, the Earth will probably not get much of the resultant CME. However, experts have cautioned that a G1-class geomagnetic storm is probable upon arrival of the CME due to the recent flare’s immense size.
Additionally, skywatchers have been informed that brief, brilliant auroras are possible.