Geomagnetic storm to hit Earth today: Radio signals may take a hit; Should you stay at home?
New Delhi, Apr 14: A massive geomagnetic storm is predicted to hit the Earth today, on April 14, 2022 and may cause a global blackout, as per the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As per both NASA and NOAA, a halo coronal mass ejection (CME) was spotted racing towards the Earth on April 11.
In a tweet, the Centre of Excellence in Space Sciences India (CESSI) said: "A halo CME was detected by SOHO LASCO on 11 April. Our model fit indicates a very high probability of Earth impact on 14 April 2022 with speeds ranging between 429-575 km/s+."
What is a geomagnetic storm?
A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth. These storms result from variations in the solar wind that produces major changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in Earth's magnetosphere. The solar wind conditions that are effective for creating geomagnetic storms are sustained (for several to many hours) periods of high-speed solar wind, and most importantly, a southward directed solar wind magnetic field (opposite the direction of Earth's field) at the dayside of the magnetosphere. This condition is effective for transferring energy from the solar wind into Earth's magnetosphere.
The largest storms that result from these conditions are associated with solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) where a billion tons or so of plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth. CMEs typically take several days to arrive at Earth, but have been observed, for some of the most intense storms, to arrive in as short as 18 hours. Another solar wind disturbance that creates conditions favorable to geomagnetic storms is a high-speed solar wind stream (HSS). HSSs plow into the slower solar wind in front and create co-rotating interaction regions, or CIRs. These regions are often related to geomagnetic storms that while less intense than CME storms, often can deposit more energy in Earth's magnetosphere over a longer interval.
Should people be advised to stay at home today?
No, while the geomagnetic storm may affect electronic devices and power grids due to high electromagnetic radiation, it will not pose any direct threat to living beings.