According to a recent report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, a solar storm hit the Earth on Monday night. The radiation storm is considered to be the most powerful one since 2005 and its charged plasma particles are heading towards our planet.
The solar flare was detected on Sunday night around 7:59 p.m. Scientists say that the flare was produced in a region identified as 1402 on the sun’s surface. The same area was responsible for a milder flare on Thursday. The astronomical event was followed by an explosion of billions of tons of plasma, more specifically 5 million mph.
Physicists working at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado told the press that the mass of radiation arrived on the surface of the Earth several hours after the explosion. The effects of the charged plasma will become more powerful on the Earth at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. As opposed to other charged plasma, the current particles travel very fast towards the planet. They will accomplish the 93-million-mile trip to earth in only 34 hours, whereas the normal amount of time is somewhere around two or three days.
The solar storm is rarely visible from Earth; besides several displays of light and color that will appear on the sky on Tuesday night, you won’t be able to notice anything else. Technological systems, on the other hand, will be affected by the arrival of the radiation wave, so expect to face downing GPS systems and power grids. The most affected, however, will be the satellite equipment and the astronauts who could be exposed to fatal doses of radiation.
Although scientists reassure people that the effects of the solar storm will be barely visible on Earth, airports have rerouted flights around polar regions in order to prevent particles from interfering with navigation systems. Other pilots chose to fly at lower altitudes to avoid getting exposed to radiation.
Similar solar storms are expected to take place more often in the future. Scientists claim that 2013 will be the year of maximum solar activity. Astronomers’ major concern at present is to find a method to predict these explosions so they no longer affect communication and technological systems.