Unusual Powerful Solar Storm Hit Earth Causing Celestial Light Displays In Skies From Australia To Britain

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An unusually powerful solar storm in over twenty years hit Earth last night, causing celestial light displays in the skies from Australia to Britain. However, it also poses a threat of potential disruptions to Earth’s communications networks, satellites and power grids as it continues into the weekend. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)”s Space Weather Prediction Centre said, the first of several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun came yesterday night. It was later upgraded to an ‘extreme’ geomagnetic storm — the first since the so-called ‘Halloween Storms’ of October 2003 caused blackouts in Sweden and damaged power infrastructure in South Africa. More Coronal Mass Ejections are expected to impact the planet in the upcoming days.
 
Social media was filled with individuals sharing images of auroras from northern Europe to Australia, New Zealand, and some neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. Solar flares originated from a large cluster of sunspots, 17 times wider than Earth. The Sun is nearing the peak of an 11-year cycle that results in increased activity. However, alongside the breathtaking auroras, fluctuating magnetic fields that come with geomagnetic storms, create currents in long wires such as power lines, which may result in power outages. Additionally, extended pipelines may get electrified, causing issues in engineering. Spacecraft are also vulnerable to high levels of radiation, but Earth’s atmosphere shields it from reaching the planet. Pigeons and other species with internal biological compasses may also be impacted.
 
The most powerful geomagnetic storm in recorded history, known as the Carrington Event, occurred in September 1859, named after British astronomer Richard Carrington.

Disclaimer: This press release is sourced from News On AIR, Prasar Bharti and Press Information Bureau India (PIB).

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