A solar flare geomagnetic storm is the intense solar wind from the Earth’s magnetic field and a “hole” in the corona, the sun’s upper atmosphere.
In the coming days, the sun may launch a storm at Earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that on Sunday, our blazing star spat out many bursts travelling in the direction of Earth and may cause a powerful geomagnetic storm.
Due to potential CH HSS and CME impacts, geomagnetic storm watches are in effect for August 17–19, 2022. On August 17, a recurring coronal hole (CH) high-speed stream (HSS) is expected to make its first contact with Earth. It is anticipated that the resulting increased and disturbed solar wind field would be sufficient to produce probable G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm conditions on August 17.
The arrival at or proximity to Earth of several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that have left the Sun since August 14 is expected to cause geomagnetic reactions to intensify to G3 (Strong) conditions on August 18. Despite the large number of CMEs, it is predicted that only a tiny number will affect Earth; however, at least four may have Earth-directed components.
Small yet complex Region 3078 produced the most recent flare-associated CME at 3:58 am EDT (07:58 UTC) on August 16; the first CME in this activity series occurred on August 14. Forecast confidence for the Earth impact of these CMEs is low to moderate because most of the ejecta is anticipated to pass either ahead or south of the Earth’s orbit.
However, model simulations predict that several of these CMEs may arrive together at or near Earth starting on August 18; as a result, a G3 (Strong) storm watch is in effect for that day. Because of the likelihood that any CME influences will persist on August 19, a G2 (Moderate) storm watch has been issued.
It is anticipated that one of these bursts, known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME, will meet with and eat another, causing a phenomenon known as a cannibal CME event. These incidents have been known to cause powerful geomagnetic storms, and in this case, one is moving in our direction, according to The Weather Channel.
Although NOAA predicts that the ejections will strike on Thursday, the agency also warned that comparatively rapid solar winds, also referred to as a recurring coronal hole high-speed stream, will impact Earth on Wednesday. On Wednesday, the solar winds alone could cause a weak geomagnetic storm, but if the solar bursts emerge, those conditions are predicted to intensify to powerful ones, known as G3.
At least four of the CMEs, according to NOAA, have the potential to impact Earth directly causing an impact similar to comets or meteoroids striking earth. The severity of geomagnetic storms ranges from G1 to G5, with G5 being the highest. According to NOAA, there would be widespread voltage management problems in such a scenario, and specific power networks would experience “total collapse or blackouts.”
A G3 storm, such as the one forecast, would necessitate the correction of some power voltage systems and could also result in some false warnings from power protection equipment.
The northern lights may become seen outside their typical range due to the storm. If the G3 occurs, NOAA has already stated that Illinois and Oregon may experience aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.
According to spaceweather.com, which tracks the most recent information from NOAA, a CME that struck Earth on Wednesday caused a G2 geomagnetic storm and an aurora sighting in Herzogswalde, Germany. At 51oN latitude, Herzogswalde is equivalent to central Quebec and Ontario in Canada. Additionally, spaceweather.com shows the city’s lights were visible despite “clouds, haze, and metropolitan lights.”
According to NOAA’s statement on Thursday morning, most of the area affected is 50oN and later, and high latitudes like Canada and Alaska may be able to see the aurora.Additionally, on Wednesday, NASA astronaut Bob Hines, a pilot on the April-launched SpaceX Crew-4 mission, posted his images of the aurora borealis. He cited the recent solar activity as the cause of the beauty.
The best prediction is made by NOAA 30 to 90 minutes in advance regarding where and how powerful the lights will be. According to radar, the likelihood that aurora would be visible from North Dakota, Minnesota, and the majority of Canada substantially increased on Thursday morning at roughly 2:45 a.m. ET initially, but it is unclear if when it will actually surface.