Earth experiences largest geomagnetic storm in two decades

Weather

Published: 2024-05-11 12:28

Last Updated: 2024-07-13 05:38


Earth experiences largest geomagnetic storm in two decades
Earth experiences largest geomagnetic storm in two decades

Saturday (May 11, 2024), Earth is experiencing its most significant geomagnetic storm in about two decades, reaching the fifth category (G5) due to heightened solar activity.

Dr. Ali Al-Ta’ani, an astrophysics and space sciences specialist and Head of the Physics Department at Al-Balqa Applied University, noted that disturbances and interferences have already begun in wireless communication systems, space and maritime navigation systems, and the global GPS system. Shortwave radio waves over the Pacific Ocean were interrupted for up to an hour at frequencies below 30 MHz.

Magnetometers globally detected the arrival of the first of six coronal mass ejections from the giant sunspot AR3664 into Earth's magnetic field. More ejections are expected, possibly extending the storm for several days.

Data from the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory revealed that Earth was hit by a coronal eruption, with solar wind speeds exceeding 700 kilometers per second. The southward magnetic fields from the Sun enveloped Earth, resulting in a temporary "crack" in our planet's magnetosphere, allowing solar wind to flow.

A geomagnetic storm is a powerful coronal mass ejection - a cloud of ionized gas - that interacts with Earth's magnetic field, causing phenomena like aurora borealis to be visible at low latitudes. Observations of this phenomenon have been reported in Norway, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, and parts of the Americas, far from city lights.

The Sun is currently experiencing an unusual peak in activity as part of its twenty-fifth cycle, which began in late 2020 and will continue until the end of next year. This heightened solar activity will affect radio and wireless communication systems, as well as space navigation.