A rare and spectacular Solar Storm is about to hit Earth! What you need to know...

(This article is authored by Alar)

The sun is acting up again, and this time it’s sending a deadly solar storm towards our planet. A massive coronal mass ejection (CME) that devoured another CME from a different sunspot is expected to hit Earth tomorrow, July 20, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This could be one of the strongest geomagnetic storms of the year, potentially causing radio blackouts, satellite disruptions and aurora displays across the globe.

The CME originated from a powerful X-class solar flare that erupted from the sunspot AR3354 on July 2. This sunspot is seven times the width of the Earth and has been producing frequent flares in the past few days. The X-flare was followed by another CME from the sunspot AR3363 on July 15, which was faster and caught up with the first one, creating a cannibal CME. This combined cloud of magnetized plasma and solar radiation is now heading straight for Earth at a speed of over 1,000 km/s.

NOAA models confirm that the CME will graze Earth’s magnetic field on July 20. It came from yesterday’s potent M6-class eruption in the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR3363. The report further added that there is a possibility that the geomagnetic storm can reach G3-class intensity. This could be one of the strongest storms of the year so far.

A G3-class storm can cause fluctuations in power grids, interference in radio communications, navigation errors in GPS devices and damage to satellites. It can also trigger spectacular auroras or northern lights that may be visible as far south as Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England. However, it is not expected to pose any serious threat to human health or safety.

The sun is currently in its 25th solar cycle, which began in December 2019 and will last until 2030. Solar cycles are periods of 11 years when the sun’s activity fluctuates between high and low. The current cycle is predicted to be more active than the previous one, which was unusually quiet and had only 14 X-flares. The current cycle has already produced 18 X-flares so far, indicating that the sun is waking up from its slumber.

Solar storms are natural phenomena that have been occurring for billions of years. They are part of the dynamic relationship between the sun and the Earth, and they remind us of how powerful and unpredictable our star can be. While we cannot prevent them from happening, we can monitor them and prepare for their effects.