A powerful solar storm is coming: when it hits the Earth

This is largely thanks to Sun that life on earth is possible. Our star isn’t entirely necessary—there are life forms in the deep ocean that have never seen sunlight—but it sets the stage for what we know about existence. We also know that the Sun will explode sooner or later, like all the stars: who knows if man will still exist.

But we know, finally, that if it were not for a number of conditions that protect us, the Sun would be extremely dangerous. Intense heat, for sure. But also solar stormslike the one we are experiencing today.

We’re in the midst of a solar storm

August 18 and 19 our planet was hit by what is known as a solar storm: in practice, the sun “shot” particles of very high energy into space. Some of them have reached and still reach the Earth, causing a geomagnetic storm.

It all starts with the outermost region of the solar atmosphere, the corona. Here in recent days have been very cruel material releasein the form of plasma, because a surface sunspot exploded: it was August 14, and the phenomenon was recorded by the US Space Weather Prediction Center.

Plasma traveling in space has its own a magnetic field, which today collides with the earthly. But that’s not all, because the Sun is playing hide-and-seek with itself: the next day, our star actually ejected a second coronal mass, resulting from the collapse of the magnetic filament. According to experts, these two storms will merge, forming one much more powerful one. Happens less often, but not the first time. However, a particularly strange case was noticed a few months ago.

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What are the risks

In these two days, a strong solar storm hits the Earth. Usually phenomena of this type are classified only from G1 to G5, where G1 is the weakest and G5 the strongest. Storm on August 18 and 19 – one G3.

But, despite this, and despite the huge mass emissions of the Sun, the impact on our planet and our daily life will be almost zero: there may be small drops in the power grid and satellite interference which will therefore affect the accuracy of GPS and navigator signals, as well as radios.

On the other hand, stronger solar storms have serious and concrete consequences: according to some scientists, the most powerful of them can deliver net Internetparalyzing her. They could even, as Wired magazine explains, send satellites orbiting our planet into a tailspin, causing them to fall back to Earth.

Especially strong, the strongest ever recorded, is the one that got the name Carrington event, between August 28 and September 2, 1859. In a world much less connected than ours, he caused damage that would be a hundredfold today: he then paralyzed all the telegraph cables for 14 hours. It also had a very beautiful visual effect because it produced beautiful aurora borealis, which could also be seen at unusual latitudes, such as Rome or Hawaii.

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