The Sun has blasted out 6 big solar flares and among them are two rated X-class. One of the bigger solar flare was directed at the Earth and the resultant solar storm can cause blackouts on Earth.
The Sun is a hotbed of activity. Last couple of weeks have been filled with continuous explosions and solar flares being set off. The Earth was recently a victim to such high intensity X-class solar flares which caused radio blackouts in different regions of the world and disrupted GPS connectivity. Now, it appears that yet another solar storm is headed our way and this time it is a product of yet another X-class solar flare. In the last 48 hours, the Sun has blasted 6 solar flares, including two X-class flares. One of them is headed towards the Earth and will strike us by May 8th. Know what you can expect from this solar storm.
The report comes from Dr. Tamitha Skov, space weather physicist and popularly known as the space weather woman. She tweeted, “Eye Candy for the Soul! Our #Sun fires up this week with two X-flare players. In the last 48 hours we’ve had 6 big flares plus an Earth-directed stealthy #solarstorm launch. Expect continued radio #blackouts on Earth’s dayside, #GPS reception issues & chance for #aurora May 8”.
Big solar storm is headed towards the Earth
In the past, NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have warned us about the growing activity on the Sun as a result of it nearing the solar maximum which is expected somewhere around 2025. The solar cycle 25 has given all the signs of being stronger than the previous one and it is expected that the total number of sunspots during the peak will surpass the previous solar cycle. With an increased solar activity, chances of solar flares and solar storms directed at Earth will also increase.
The biggest concern is that X-class solar flares are becoming more common and the coronal mass ejection is sending stronger than ever solar storms to Earth. Now, solar storms are not just fun space weather activity which can cause auroras, but a real threat that can damage satellites, cause radio blackouts, interrupt GPS and in extreme situations take out mobile connectivity and internet services and cause power grid failures. The Canadian power grid failure in March 1989 is a big example of how a strong solar storm can completely disrupt a normal life.
NASA is constantly monitoring the Sun for such solar flare incidents, but so far we do not have any way of protecting ourselves from the wrath of the Sun. The ones most at danger are the satellites revolving around the Earth. If a significantly strong solar storm were to hit them and damage their sensitive instruments, it would destroy our communication systems for good.