On Tuesday, September 12, the Earth was hit by an unexpected coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud, which triggered a powerful G2-class solar storm on Earth. The storm was moderate in intensity but it was still enough to interrupt wireless communication and trigger bright aurora lights in the higher latitudes. But the solar storm onslaught is not likely to stop anytime soon. Another CME has been unleashed from the Sun and it is again headed for our planet. As per prediction models, it is likely to reach the Earth on September 17 and deliver a glancing blow to the planet. Check the dangers that you should expect.
According to a report by SpaceWeather.com, “Yesterday, Sept. 14th, a magnetic filament connecting sunspots AR3423 and AR3425 erupted. The blast hurled a CME into space near the edge of the Earth-strike zone. A glancing blow on Sept. 17th could cause G1 to G2-class geomagnetic storms”.
Solar storm to strike the Earth over the weekend
As per the report, the resultant storm can be of G1 to G2 class intensity. Such a massive solar storm can damage satellites, impact mobile networks and internet connectivity as well as cause power grid failure. Although, healthwise, humans will not be directly impacted by the radiation, the disruptions to emergency services and power outages at places of high importance like hospitals can still be quite devastating to technology-based infrastructure.
But this is not the only danger that’s threatening the Earth right now. According to a post by SpaceWeatherLive’s official X account, another moderate M2.5-class solar flare erupted yesterday night. It is unclear whether it has released CME, but solar observatories are currently monitoring the area for any signs of it. If it does, it would be the fourth solar storm event of the month, and we are only halfway through.
NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite’s Role in solar storm
GOES-16, formerly known as GOES-R before reaching geostationary orbit, is the first of the GOES-R series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites operated by NASA and NOAA. It was launched on November 19, 2016, and became operational on December 18, 2017. GOES-16 is located in geostationary orbit over the Atlantic Ocean and provides continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere. It also carries a lightning mapper, which can detect both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning. GOES-16 is a vital tool for weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and space weather prediction.