Geomagnetic storm set to hit earth today

Massive solar storm set to hit earth: Satellites, electricity grids likely to be affected

The solar storm can illuminate the sky with astonishing aurora but they also do considerable harm to electronics

Representative image. Credit: Reuters File Photo

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a unit of the US  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration department issued an alert that a geomagnetic storm is set to hit earth on Sunday and suggested the possibility of moderate-level storm conditions.

A geomagnetic storm is a disturbance of the magnetosphere of earth and it takes place after an exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth. 

Also read: Solar wind set to hit Earth; power grid fluctuations likely

While solar storms can illuminate the sky with astonishing aurora-like lights it can also considerably damage electronics, electrical grids, and satellite and radio communications. The storm can also cause power grid fluctuations, where high-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms.

According to the SWPC, the geomagnetic storm will affect areas primarily poleward of 55 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

Satellite orientation irregularities may occur; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites is possible. The geomagnetic storm could also impact high frequency radio propagation, which can fade at higher latitudes.

The earth has had several geomagnetic storms earlier too. Some storms have also caused very huge damage to electrical and communication lines. 

A report by the Weatherboy said on September 1-2 in 1859, a powerful geomagnetic storm struck earth during Solar Cycle 10. A CME hit the Earth and induced the largest geomagnetic storm on record. 

The event severely damaged the limited electrical and communication lines that existed at that time. Telegraph systems around the world failed, with some telegraph operators reporting they received electric shocks.

Despite the damages, the storm was so intense it created extremely bright, vivid aurora throughout the planet. People in California thought the sun rose early, people in the northeastern US could read a newspaper at night from the aurora’s bright light, and people as far south as Hawaii and south-central Mexico could see the aurora in the sky, the report said.

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