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Plasma ejections from the sun could impact Earth today

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You might not want to catch these rays.

An unusual magnetic storm emitting from the sun has the potential to impact Earth on Thursday and cause noticeable damage and disruptions.

Dubbed the “sun’s wrath,” the Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India (CESSI) tweeted this week about the detection of energy expulsions, hypothesizing a “very high probability of Earth impact” on April 14.

The solar activity is what scientists call a geomagnetic storm, which produces a “magnetic discharge” of Coronal Mass Ejections.

Basically, increased activity on the sun will eject this energy toward our planet, causing power blackouts and radio signal disruptions.

On the bright side, the solar flares create a beautiful show of lights — called auroras — like the northern lights.

“While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents in the power grid and pipelines,” according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The solar flares can cause auroras, such as the northern lights.
James Spann/NASA/GSFC/Flickr

Coronal Mass Ejections are plasma and magnetic fields emitted from the sun’s corona, the bright halo around the star, into space toward the inner planets.

NASA and NOAA have tracked these emissions from the sun before, including some from just two weeks ago that were near misses, but this storm is different. While significant damage from Coronal Mass Ejections is rare, this might just be the exception.

The NOAA says this kind of storm is a “major disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into space environment surrounding Earth.”

Solar flare from sun
The plasma ejections from the sun have the power to noticeably disrupt our planet.
NASA

Higher elevations are more at risk, according to the NOAA, while mid-altitude areas won’t see as much damage but could still experience power disruptions.

NASA has also predicted that “rapid solar wind streams” could cause the geomagnetic storm to intensity once it impacts Earth.

Solar activity
While these emissions aren’t rare, they’re more common now that the sun is experiencing heightened activity.
NASA

“During storms, the currents in the ionosphere, as well as the energetic particles that precipitate into the ionosphere, add energy in the form of heat that can increase the density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit,” the NOAA says.

These energy emissions from the sun, according to CESSI, are due to the bright star approaching its Solar Maxima, the “period of greatest solar activity during the sun’s 11-year solar cycle.”




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