It has been a time of intense solar activity. The Earth was struck by distinct geomagnetic storms in March of 2022, according to U.S. and U.K. government meteorological services.
Even while the geomagnetic storms likely did not inflict any damage, they drew attention to the potential damage that may result from future storms with greater intensity.
Then, at the beginning of this month, a G1-class geomagnetic storm struck Earth, resulting in brilliant auroras across Canada. The only issue is that nobody anticipated this storm until it was too late.
Five days ago, scientists were concerned about the possibility of Earth-directed solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that may cause blackouts due to their proximity to Earth.
On Friday, it was finally confirmed that a big solar flare had erupted from the Sun, which might result in radio blackouts in many regions of the planet.
A “direct hit” from a solar storm
Now, on Saturday, “Space Weather Woman” Dr. Tamitha Skov projected a “direct hit” from a solar storm that will occur on Tuesday. She shared the news on social media with a NASA prediction model video.
Direct Hit! A snake-like filament launched as a big #solarstorm while in the Earth-strike zone. NASA predicts impact early July 19. Strong #aurora shows possible with this one, deep into mid-latitudes. Amateur #radio & #GPS users expect signal disruptions on Earth’s nightside. pic.twitter.com/7FHgS63xiU— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) July 16, 2022
Skov is a research scientist at the federally financed Aerospace Corporation and a social media award-winning instructor in the field of science.
She wrote “Direct Hit” on Twitter. “A snake-like filament launched as a big solar storm while in the Earth-strike zone.”
“NASA predicts impact early July 19. Strong Aurora shows possible with this one, deep into mid-latitudes,” she explained, adding that there could be disruption to GPS and amateur radio.
G2 Level Solar Storm
Her distressing tweet was followed by a post including a video of the Sun.
“The long snake-like filament cartwheeled its way off the Sun in a stunning ballet,” the science educator wrote explaining the video.
“The magnetic orientation of this Earth-directed solar storm is going to be tough to predict. G2-level (possibly G3) conditions may occur if the magnetic field of this storm is oriented southward!” she further noted.
The long snake-like filament cartwheeled its way off the #Sun in a stunning ballet. The magnetic orientation of this Earth-directed #solarstorm is going to tough to predict. G2-level (possibly G3) conditions may occur if the magnetic field of this storm is oriented southward! pic.twitter.com/SNAZGMmqzi— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) July 16, 2022
With the Sun now in an active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, incidents such as these are expected to increase. The question now becomes: how harmful are they really? Typically, they can cause significant blackouts to GPS navigation systems, which could end up disrupting journeys for small aircraft and ships. Other than that, however, there is not much to worry about.
Reference(s): SpaceWeather, Dr. Tamitha Skov