The Sun plays a crucial role in the existence of all life forms on Earth, but our host star can also showcase a very dark side towards us. A recent eruption from the Sun known as coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading towards our planet, and it’s expected to interfere with GPS, power grids, and radio in several days.
Even more similar events are expected soon, as the Sun is entering a period of increasing violent activity. Even astronauts from the Earth’s orbit can be in danger because of bursts of solar activity that interferes with their spacecraft. The recent eruption on the Sun even prompted warnings from the National Weather Service.
A new 11-year solar cycle for our star
The eruptions and flares of the Sun will become more imposing and frequent, and they will reach a peak five years from now. Mike Hapgood, who is a space-weather consultant from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, declared:
This is more a wake-up call that stronger storms could occur in the next few years – and we ought to make sure we are ready for them.
Luckily enough, there are two spacecraft that are orbiting the Earth and studying the source of charged solar particles. The goal is that scientists figure out ways of protecting both the electric grid of our planet and astronauts from electrical storms that emerge from the Sun.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is an imposing release of plasma and accompanying the solar corona’s magnetic field. CME’s often follow solar flares and are usually present during a solar prominence eruption. The plasma gets released into the solar wind and can be viewed in coronagraph imagery.