The charged particles from the Sun interacted with Earth’s magnetosphere in a G3-class geomagnetic storm that triggered auroras in lower latitudes.
This was the second X-class flare of Solar Cycle 25, which began in December 2019. (Photo: Nasa)
Halloween came early for some as massive flares from the Sun arrived at Earth on Sunday leaving behind eerie northern lights in skies in several parts of the world. The charged particles interacted with Earth’s magnetosphere in a G3-class geomagnetic storm that triggered auroras on lower latitudes than where they actually appear.
Auroras are normally seen on the northern poles. However, the geomagnetic storm did not do much damage as US Space Weather Prediction Center said “Impacts to our technology from a G3 storm are generally nominal.”
The agency said that a G3 storm has the potential to drive the aurora further away from its normal polar residence and if other factors come together, the aurora might be seen over the far Northeast, to the upper Midwest, and over the state of Washington.
NASA CAPTURES DANGEROUS ERUPTIONS ON SUN
Nasa said that an active region on the left limb of the Sun flickered with a series of small flares and petal-like eruptions of solar material between October 25 through mid-morning of October 26. The agency has now released video footage captured by its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) that covers a busy few days of activity that ended with a significant solar flare.
The giant fireball had on October 28 released a significant flare which arrived at Earth 48 hours later. This flare was classified as an X1-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, and so on. Flares that are classified X10 or stronger are considered unusually intense.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation that are capable of affecting assets both in space and on the ground. “Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel,” Nasa said in a blog post.
SUN IS WAKING UP
This was the second X-class flare of Solar Cycle 25, which began in December 2019. A new solar cycle comes roughly every 11 years. Over the course of each cycle, the Sun transitions from relatively calm to active and stormy, and then quiet again.
Two other eruptions blew off the Sun from this active region: an eruption of solar material called a coronal mass ejection and an invisible swarm of solar energetic particles. These are high-energy charged particles accelerated by solar eruptions.
The October 28th blast on the Sun created a massive tsunami of plasma that rippled across the entire solar disk with the plasma wave extending at about 1,00,000 km tall and moving through the sun’s atmosphere faster than 700 kilometres per second.