‘Cannibal' ejection from the sun set to impact earth this week

Anish Vij

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‘Cannibal' ejection from the sun set to impact earth this week

Featured Image Credit: Dennis Hallinan/Science History Images/Alamy

A ‘cannibal’ coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading towards Earth and could cause radio blackouts.

So, CMEs happen to be large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"They can eject billions of tons of coronal material and carry an embedded magnetic field (frozen in flux) that is stronger than the background solar wind interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) strength," it explains.

And now, the NOAA says that 'geomagnetic storm watches are in effect for 17-18 August (Wednesday and Thursday), 2022'.

"A negative polarity coronal hole (CH) high speed stream (HSS) is likely to lead to G1 (Minor) storm levels on 17 Aug," it added.

Credit: B.A.E. Inc./Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: B.A.E. Inc./Alamy Stock Photo

"Additionally, a coronal mass ejection (CME), which left the Sun on 14 Aug, is expected to arrive at Earth as a glancing blow on 18 Aug.

"This will likely lead to escalated geomagnetic response and G2 (Moderate) storm levels are probable.

"While, forecast confidence of an Earth-directed component to the 14 Aug CME is low-moderate, confidence in timing and intensity is lower.

"When the CME approaches Earth, NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite will be among the first spacecraft to detect the real-time solar wind changes and SWPC forecasters will issue any appropriate warnings.

"Impacts to our technology from a G2 storm are generally nominal."

It concludes: "However, a G2 storm has the potential to drive the aurora further away from its normal polar residence, and if other factors come together, the aurora might be seen over the far Northeast, to the far upper Midwest, across portions of the north-central states, and perhaps over the northwest section of Washington state."

Don't worry, it's not quite as scary as it sounds.

Credit: NASA Photo/Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: NASA Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

So, basically, there is said to be a 30 percent chance of medium-sized flares with a 10 percent chance of large flares.

Former NASA astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips said: "This could be a 'Cannibal CME' event.

"In other words, the second CME might overtake and gobble up the first, creating a mish-mash of the two.

"Cannibal CMEs contain tangled magnetic fields and compressed plasmas that sometimes spark strong geomagnetic storms."

Phillips predicts the aurora could also be visible from New York and Idaho as well.

"Any explosions will be geoeffective (capable of causing a geomagnetic disturbance here on Earth), as the sunspot is almost directly facing our planet," weather.com says.

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Topics: News, Space

Anish Vij
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