On November 6, a powerful solar storm caused unusual auroras in Texas, and there’s a chance for more today as solar winds approach Earth.
Last week, a forecast suggested that the Earth might experience a solar storm early this week, with varying probabilities depending on specific conditions. To our surprise, the factors aligned in such a way that led to the worst possible outcome: a G3-class storm on November 6. Although the storm has somewhat calmed down, it seems like we’re not out of the woods just yet. Another round of solar activity is on its way, and it could potentially lead to solar storms as intense as G2-class today, November 7.
As per a report from SpaceWeather.com, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experts have mentioned a possibility of experiencing G2-class geomagnetic storms on November 7. This potential storm is a result of the weakening effects of Sunday’s coronal mass ejection (CME) coinciding with an approaching stream of solar wind. The Earth’s magnetic field is currently experiencing G1-class activity, and it wouldn’t require much more to elevate it to G2-class intensity. This means there’s a chance for heightened geomagnetic activity.
The Earth is dealing with a significant solar storm activity
On November 6, two out of three CMEs reached Earth, causing a powerful geomagnetic storm of G3-class intensity. There is a possibility that the first CME was a cannibalized CME, formed by two different CME clouds, but this is not confirmed.
These two CMEs struck Earth over the weekend, on November 4th and 5th. Their impact resulted in a strong geomagnetic storm, producing auroras as far south as Colorado and Texas.
In contrast to a previous G3-class storm in March, the current solar storm has not shown any significant on-ground impacts yet. During the earlier storm, operations on Canadian oil rigs had to be halted due to an unusual buildup of static electricity in the atmosphere.
How the DSCOVR satellite from NOAA keeps an eye on the Sun
NOAA closely watches solar storms and tracks the Sun’s activities by relying on the DSCOVR satellite, which started operating in 2016. This advanced satellite gathers important data, which is subsequently processed and analyzed by experts at the Space Weather Prediction Center.
The data collected from DSCOVR includes various critical measurements such as temperature, speed, density, orientation, and the frequency of solar particles. All of this information is crucial for understanding and predicting space weather events, especially solar storms, and their potential impacts on Earth and our technology-dependent society.