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A powerful geomagnetic storm has hit the Earth

Added Sat, 11/05/2024
Дата публикации
Fri, 10/05/2024

In the next 24 hours, the Earth is expected to collide with powerful coronal mass ejections, which some scientists call "cannibalistic" because of their unique "configuration". NOAA (The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) warns of a serious G4-level geomagnetic storm that will occur when emissions reach our planet's magnetic field.

Why is the release "cannibalistic"?

A "cannibalistic" coronal mass ejection is formed when a faster ejection catches up and absorbs a slower one that occurred earlier. This leads to the fusion and amplification of shock waves, which, when they enter the Earth's magnetosphere, cause powerful geomagnetic storms.

According to the NOAA warning, the Earth will reach a minimum of 5 coronal mass ejections in the next 24 hours. And it is expected that three of them can merge into a "cannibalistic" one.

Sunspot AR3664

The source of the emissions was the giant sunspot AR3664. This region on the Sun is so large that it has been compared to the historic sunspot of 1859, which was observed by British astronomer Richard Carrington. Then there was a powerful outburst, known as the "Carrington Event", which led to powerful geomagnetic storms, fires at telegraph stations around the world and bright auroras recorded even at low latitudes, for example in Cuba and Hawaii.

How dangerous is it?

Although the AR3664 sunspot can be considered comparable in size to the Carrington spot, the coronal mass ejections it created do not reach the scale of the events of 1859. NOAA claims that even if all emissions were merged into one "cannibal" one, it would not be as destructive as the "Carrington Event". Nevertheless, it is expected that the upcoming disturbances will be strong — the storm may reach category G4 (on a scale from 1 to 5).

Geomagnetic storms of this magnitude can cause disruptions to satellites and power systems, as well as cause bright auroras that can be visible even in southern regions.

When was the last time there was such a storm?

During the current solar cycle (it began in 2019), only 3 G4 class geomagnetic storms were recorded, the last one on March 23, 2024.

The last G5 class storm occurred in October 2003. As a result, there were power outages in Sweden, and electric transformers in South Africa were damaged.

Update, 21:00

The storm began, the k-index reached a value of 8, which corresponds to a geomagnetic storm of class G4.

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