Artist's impression of a coronal mass ejection leaving the sun, similar to the recent ejection. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center
The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) of the National Weather Service changed the current Geomagnetic Storm Watch to a geomagnetic storm warning after the early arrival of a hearty solar wind was detected.
Mild to moderate geomagnetic storm levels are being observed, according to the SWPC, indicating the early arrival of an expected coronal mass ejection on Sunday April 22nd. The improvement in solar wind parameters was first observed from the DSCOVR spacecraft.
The transient solar wind function is expected to cause auroral improvements that may be visible at night in the higher latitudes under favorable sky conditions. Because of the magnitude of this disturbance, the aurora could be seen as far as Idaho and New York and places in between.
The GOES solar ultraviolet imager shows a large coronal mass ejection (CME) exploding from the sun. Image: NOAA
According to the SWPC, a partial halo coronal mass ejection (CME) was associated with a C3 flare from region 2816 on the sun. After a thorough analysis by SWPC forecasters and computer forecasting models who are well versed in such events, the first forecast was that the effects would hit Earth early this morning by noon. Instead, however, it was found that energy arrived on Saturday.
Beyond this energy pulse, which now interacts with the earth's magnetic field, it seems that this CME also triggered a solar tsunami from the solar surface.
A solar tsunami, also known as a Moreton wave or a Moreton-Ramsey wave, is the signature of a large solar corona shock wave created by solar flares. Technology deployed by NASA in 2009, discovered in the late 1950s, confirmed the presence and mechanics of such a tsunami.
In contrast to a water wave in the sense of a traditional tsunami, a solar tsunami is a wave of hot plasma and magnetism that is approximately 100,000 km high and races through the solar system at a speed of approximately 850 km / h.
Chart showing NOAA space weather scales for geomagnetic storms. Image: NOAA
While this storm is considered a moderate “G2” storm, its impact is expected to be limited. High latitude power systems can trigger voltage alarms. If this event takes a long time, it can also lead to transformer damage. Radio communication can also be disrupted. Spacecraft ground control teams above ground may also need to move or align their equipment in space to reduce the risk of damage.
Coronal loops are a feature of the solar corona. Scientists hope to learn more about this during the upcoming solar eclipse. Image: NASA / TRACE
While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Weather Service (NWS) are usually known for their weather forecasting, they are also responsible for “space weather”. While there are private companies and other agencies that monitor and forecast space weather, this is the official source for warnings and Warnings of the space environment is the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The SWPC is located in Boulder, Colorado and is a service center of the NWS, which is part of NOAA. The Space Weather Forecasting Center is also one of nine National Environmental Forecasting Centers (NCEP) that monitor current space weather activity 24/7, 365 days a year.
Experts have indicated that we are now entering an active solar cycle and that such incidents will increase with frequency and intensity in the coming months.