Solar storms have the potential to wreak havoc on Earth’s technology as the bombardment of cosmic particles on the upper atmosphere of our planet causes it to expand.
As the upper atmosphere expands, the contained energy makes radio waves fuzzy and weak.
The solar storm was released from a sunspot, called AR2715, which is growing at an alarming rate.
AR2715 is almost doubling in size daily and is now roughly four times the size of Earth – yesterday it was just twice our planet’s size.
According to the website Space Weather: “During the past 24 hours, sunspot AR2715 has almost quadrupled in size, growing two dark cores larger than Earth.
“The active region is now crackling with low-level solar flares.
“A pulse of extreme ultraviolet radiation from the flare briefly ionised the top of Earth’s atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean, causing a shortwave radio brownout at frequencies below 10 MHz.
“People who might have noticed the disturbance include mariners and ham radio operators.”
Researchers at Space Weather add the current spot is a solar minimum sunspot.
The Sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches a solar maximum – giving off more heat – and then a solar minimum, where the Sun gives off less heat.
The Sun is currently in the solar maximum phase but is due to head into solar minimum shortly.
As it does, sunspot numbers will fall, allowing only bigger ones to pop up – such as the current one.
Space Weather adds: “In recent months, sunspot numbers have plummeted as the solar cycle shifts toward a deep minimum.
“On more than half of the days so far in 2018, the face of the sun has been completely blank without any sunspots at all. Even during Solar Minimum, however, big sunspots pop up from time to time.”
Solar storms affect Earth as they release a bombardment of cosmic particles.
For the most part, the Earth’s magnetic field protects humans from the barrage of radiation that comes with solar storms, but they can affect satellite-based technology.
Solar winds can heat the Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing it to expand.
This can affect radio and satellites in orbit, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.
A surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blow outs and a loss of power.
Source : EXPRESS