A dazzling aurora can light up the skies of the United States from south to north, apparently caused by two giant solar flares heading straight for Earth. Scientists found that, along with fifteen other eruptions, they were caused by a single sunspot.
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According to the site, both eruptions are aimed at our planet Science Alert combined with the “cannibal coronal mass ejection” and hurtled towards us at a speed of 3,027,599 kilometers per hour.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the result of their collision with Earth’s magnetic field could be a powerful G3 geomagnetic storm. It can even lead to visible auroras in the southern United States, such as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon.
Sometimes eruptions overlap and eat
Sunspots are areas on the Sun’s surface where strong magnetic fields created by the flow of electric charges are knotted and then suddenly burst. The resulting release of energy triggers either bursts of radiation called solar flares or jets of solar material called coronal mass ejections.
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Cannibal coronal mass ejections occur when fast-moving solar flares overtake previous flares in the same region of space and sweep up charged particles to create a massive coherent wavefront that causes a powerful geomagnetic storm.
It usually takes about 15-18 hours for particles from the coronal mass ejection to reach Earth. When this happens, waves of these high-energy particles compress the Earth’s magnetic field slightly and bend molecules in the atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of light – which creates the colorful aurora in the night sky.
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In some cases, G3 solar storms can disrupt satellite navigation and cause problems with low-frequency radio navigation. Live Science 40 of Elon Musk’s newly launched Starlink satellites to earth.
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The largest solar storm we have witnessed in modern history is the Carrington Event, when scientists believe that in 1859, a stream of solar particles with the energy of the release of a 10 billion megaton atomic bomb hit the Earth’s magnetosphere. This coronal mass ejection literally overheated telegraph systems around the world and also caused auroras brighter than full moon light to be seen as far away as the Caribbean Sea.
If a similar event were to occur today, scientists say it would cause trillions of dollars in damage and widespread power outages, similar to the solar storm that blacked out Quebec in 1989.