Science & Tech

A huge solar storm is hitting Earth and could cause internet blackouts

A huge solar storm is hitting Earth and could cause internet blackouts
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Wibbitz - News / VideoElephant

A solar storm predicted to hit Earth on Friday (December 1) may cause internet blackouts, according to forecasters.

Radio and GPS could also be affected due to the solar storm, also known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), which is caused by interference with Earth’s magnetic field.

"A Direct Hit! The impressive #solarstorm launched in the Earth-strike zone has been modeledmodelled by NASA," space weather physicist Dr Skov posted on Twitter/X.

"The storm is predicted to hit Earth by midday December 1. Along with two earlier storms already en route means we have a 1,2,3-punch. If the magnetic field is oriented correctly, expect #aurora to reach deep into mid-latitudes."

She added: "Amateur #radio & #GPS reception issues are likely, especially on Earth's nightside. G3+ conditions are possible with this storm series."

A solar storm can have substantial effects on the Earth, taking place when the sun emits powerful bursts of energy which come from solar flares and CME that contain charged plasma.

During which, a stream of an electromagnetic field is directed towards Earth and this causes the aurora borealis.

Three solar storms were predicted to advance towards Earth – and some may merge, resulting in increased disruptions to Earth’s magnetic field, according to The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Along with two earlier storms already en route [this] means we have a 1,2,3-punch,” Dr Skov said.

Consequently, she added there are “excellent chances” of strong G3-level magnetic storms and auroras on Earth.

The way the strength of a solar storm is measured is with the letter G and then a number system from 1-5 (1 being the weakest, to 5 being the strongest).

So a G3 level storm means radio, internet and GPS could be affected due to the strength of these events.

Solar storms are also known to cause electrical grids and knock out satellites, depending on their strength.

Meanwhile, experts have warned the solar storm thought to occur today may impact communication systems in high latitudes.

“With 3 CMEs already inbound, the addition of a 4th, full halo CME has prompted SWPC forecasters to upgrade the G2 Watch on 01 Dec to a G3 Watch. This faster-moving halo CME is progged to merge with 2 of the 3 upstream CMEs, all arriving at Earth on 01 Dec,” the NOAA said.

“G3 (strong) conditions are now likely on 01 Dec,” it added.

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