Monday, May 27, 2024
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‘Extreme’ Solar Storm Strikes Earth, Inspiring Fear and Awe

The Earth’s atmosphere was hit by the strongest solar storm in over 20 years, which not only produced amazing celestial light displays in some regions of the world but also prompted warnings about possible disruptions to power grids and satellite communications.

The rare solar storm warning was issued by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which stated that the solar outburst arrived on Earth on Friday at approximately 16:00 GMT, several hours earlier than expected.

Initially characterised as the solar expulsion of plasma and magnetic fields, the first of multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) was later upgraded by NOAA to an “extreme” geomagnetic storm. The October 2003 Halloween storms, which damaged power infrastructure in South Africa and caused blackouts in Sweden, were the last known instances of a solar storm. As stated by the NOAA, there should be more solar expulsions in the next few days and possibly into next week. The US agency notified spacecraft in orbit and power plant operators to take safety measures. According to the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, users of high-frequency radio signals “may experience temporary degradation or complete loss of signal on much of the sunlit side of Earth,” following one extreme peak.

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Monday, May 27, 2024

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