For the last three days, scientists have been looking at two dangerous sunspots that have been threatening the Earth with a potential X-class solar flare eruption, but luckily, they have not exploded yet. But one of them, sunspot AR3311, blasted an M1.9-class flare four days ago, as it was beginning to face the Earth. The coronal mass ejection (CME) from the eruption is now expected to hit our planet today, May 27, as per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This means another attack by these terrifying solar storms is coming towards the Earth.
According to a report by SpaceWeather.com, “NOAA forecasters say that a CME might pass near Earth (or maybe deliver a glancing blow) today, May 26th. It was hurled into space four days ago by an M1.9-class flare from sunspot complex AR3311-12. At most, minor G1-class geomagnetic storms could result from the close encounter”.
Solar storm to strike the Earth today
Compared to some of the stronger solar storm events that we have seen in the month of May, this particular one is not expected to be too strong. However, even minor storms can cause some serious damage. It can disrupt wireless communications and GPS services, causing trouble for airlines, mariners, ham radio controllers, and drone operators. The solar storm can delay flights, cause ships to change course, and disrupt any important information that is shared through these low-frequency channels.
And even after this storm passes, the threat of the large sunspot still looms over the Earth. The sunspots are fully capable of exploding again and this time produce a far stronger flare, that can eventually result in a more intense solar storm.
NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite’s role in solar storm monitoring
NOAA monitors solar storms and Sun’s behavior using its DSCOVR satellite which became operational in 2016. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared. The different measurements are done on temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles.