A solar storm travelling at 1.8 million km/h is due to hit Earth this weekend, potentially impacting our satellite technology.
Categorized as a G1 class storm, the impacts are expected to be minor but could include power grid fluctuations, impact on satellite operations, and even impacts on migratory animals when it hits tomorrow, May 2.
While this solar storm is largely isnignificant, some experts have warned a major solar storm is a matter of “when not if”. Every so often, the Sun releases a solar flare which in turn blasts energy into space. Some of these solar flares can hit Earth, and for the most part, are harmless to our planet.
🔥 The flash of a solar flare lights up our @NASASun telescope as jets of super-heated plasma bloom. But when they're triggered, where do flares come from? One "neat" point or many disconnected locations? A new sounding rocket mission aims to find out: https://t.co/nd4PhhjwDz pic.twitter.com/jL7y62tqn9
— NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2019
It comes as a hole in the equatorial region of the sun’s atmosphere has appeared, researchers have said, which is emitting solar particles directly towards Earth at a speed of 500km/s, or 1,800,000km/h.
NASA explains that solar storms themselves can last from anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, though the affects of geomagnetic storms can linger in the Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere for days to weeks.
Solar flares that hit Earth are mostly harmless, but the sun is capable of releasing flares that are so powerful they could cripple Earth’s technology. In 1989, for example, a solar storm caused an electrical power blackout in the entire province of Quebec, Canada.