‘Cannibal sun eruption’ may cause solar storms tomorrow: here’s how it’s going to affect you

The Earth's atmosphere can protect us from this vulnerability, but space satellites don't have such privilege.

Highlights
  • A new prediction from space forecasters suggests this week will witness CMEs.
  • A Cannibal CME event loaded with plasma and interwove magnetic fields can spark minor (G1) to moderate (G2) geomagnetic storms. 
  • This solar activity could impact GPS, the internet, and amateur radio reception.

Last week saw Sun approaching its solar maxima, which happens once in eleven years, resulting in solar flare-ups (bursts of electromagnetic radiation) and pleasant aurora (northern lights aka polar lights). A new prediction from space forecasters suggests this week will witness CMEs or Coronal Mass Ejections – massive ejection of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona – causing solar storms around Earth.

As per reports, two CMEs erupted on solar surfaces and are making their way toward Earth. If the NOAA’s latest forecast model is considered, these CMEs might hit Earth tomorrow, i.e., August 18th. According to spaceweather.com, a dark cloud of the Sun’s outer atmosphere travels faster than 600km/hr, creating a CME, and the latest images from the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) signal that it has an Earth-directed component.

This means a Cannibal CME event – two CMEs get ejected from the Sun, and the second CME overtakes the first one on the way to Earth – loaded with plasma and interwove magnetic fields can spark minor (G1) to moderate (G2) geomagnetic storms. 

What are G1 and G2 geomagnetic storms?

For those who aren’t aware, the G1 storm is harmless but can cause power grid failures, lite disruption in satellite function, and a minor impact on migratory animals. This is also the culprit behind the pleasant northern lights. G2 storm, on the other hand, is more instance, and high-latitude power systems might suffer voltage alarms.

While the Earth’s atmosphere protects us from this, the satellites in space don’t have such privilege. This vulnerability to satellites could impact things like GPS. According to specialist Dr. Tamitha Skov, GPS and amateur radio reception may be affected by this week’s solar activity. According to scientists, we might witness an outage in internet supply globally.