This Wednesday marked the eruption of an active region on the sun with an X1.6 flare on Wednesday.
The back-to-back solar flares were Earth-directed and the resulting geomagnetic storms are said to possess minor threat to our planet.
The solar flare erupted Wednesday at 1:46 p.m. ET from a sunspot (AR) 2158 centered in the middle of the sun, 10 times more than the size of Earth. The flares are linked with a coronal mass ejection (CME). CME is loaded with billions of tons of energetic hydrogen and helium ions as well as magnetic fields poured out from the sun’s surface.
Wednesday’s flare followed a less powerful M-class flare late Monday.
In an e-mail written on Thursday morning, he commented,”G2-G3 geomagnetic storms can cause some problems for the (power) grid but are typically very manageable.”
“We may also see some anomalies with satellites so satellite operators around the world have been notified. And problems with the accuracy of GPS have been observed with this level of storming.”
NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center’s forecasters in Boulder, Colo., said the flare “caused impacts to high-frequency radio communications on Earth” Wednesday afternoon.
Claiming the CME not to be effective enough Murtagh added that any additional eruptions in the next few days will likely produce more disturbances in our geomagnetic field.
Thomas Berger, the director of the Space Weather Prediction Center said the appearance of two CMEs to be ‘fairly rare.’
The first solar storm heading at 2.5 million mph (4 million km/h) will hit tonight, and the X-class solar storm will arrive late Friday morning, Berger said.
NASA’s Tony Phillips wrote, “NOAA forecasters estimate a nearly 80 percent chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Sept. 12th when the first of the two CMEs arrives.”
Philips appended, “Radio emissions from shock waves at the leading edge of the CME suggest that the cloud tore through the sun’s atmosphere at speeds as high as 3750 km/s (over 8 million miles per hour).”
Depending on the size and energy associated with the interacting CME, the resulting geomagnetic storm can produce a spectacular light show, on Friday night. This interaction can generate aurorae, which, in turn, can induce powerful electric currents through our atmosphere.
They concluded the effects that are likely to be caused by the flares hitting the earth: fluctuations in power lines, radio signals and satellite transmissions. At the strongest point of clash i.e. near the poles, airlines may divert planes, because of interruptions in communications and an increased risk of radiation exposure.
In the United States, the northern lights can be witnessed as far south as Oregon, South Dakota and the Great Lakes region. People in northern New England, the far northern Plains, and the Pacific Northwest will have the best site of the aurora.