Whenever solar activity rises, huge bubbles of coronal plasma are ejected, threaded by magnetic field lines over the course of several hours. According to NASA, CMEs often look like twisted rope, known as ‘flux rope’. A large CME can contain a billion tons of matter that can be accelerated to several million miles per hour in a spectacular explosion. This solar material streams out through the interplanetary medium, impacting any planet or spacecraft in its path. Although this solar activity might seem harmless due to the distance of the Sun from our planet, they can cause major damage.
Spaceweather.com reported that a CME hit Earth just days ago! When these solar particles reach Earth, they can interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and cause it to fluctuate. According to the report, it was a weak CME impact which resulted in the formation of auroras in the Arctic circle. Moreover, it caused a 10 nanoTesla jolt in magnetometer readings recorded from Canberra, Australia.
The report said, ”An unexpected CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on Feb. 1st at 18:54 UTC, causing a 10 nanoTesla jolt in magnetometer readings from Canberra, Australia. This is considered to be a weak impact. Nevertheless, it was enough to spark auroras around the Arctic Circle.”
The Auroras formed after the CME impact were captured by Marianne Bergli in Storfjord, Norway. She said, “What an amazing night!!! It looked like a green serpent was dancing around the Moon. ”
Effects of solar activity
While Earth’s magnetosphere deflects most solar activity carried by the solar wind, some charged particles seep through. These energetic particles cause magnetic disturbances, classified as either geomagnetic storms or substorms. These storms can cause stunning sky phenomena known as Auroras or Northern Lights.
When solar particles hit Earth, the radio communications and the power grid is affected when it hits the planet’s magnetic field. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large.
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