On Monday (July 12), a rapid solar storm will approach our planet at a speed of 1.6 million kilometers per hour and affect the power supply and communications infrastructure. According to the latest forecasts, mobile phone signals, satellite TV, power grids and GPS navigation will be affected. According to data from the US Space Weather Forecast Center, solar flares are expected to occur on a level of X1. Solar flares are divided into A and B levels, followed by C, M and X. Therefore, the X-level flare is the largest. The number suffix 1 indicates the intensity of the solar flare.
Earlier, the sun emitted a strong flare at 10:29 am on July 3, classified as an X1.5 flare, causing a temporary power outage over the Atlantic Ocean. Saturday (July 10), the Planetary Society wrote on Twitter: “The power of the sun should never be underestimated. In March 1989, due to a solar storm, the entire province of Quebec, Canada, was out of power for 12 hours. Current solar flares are unlikely to trigger a geomagnetic flare or a 12-hour power outage.
A solar flare is a strong explosion that occurs on the surface of the sun, which occurs when the energy stored in the magnetic field is suddenly released and therefore emits radiation throughout the solar system. These radiations in the form of radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays then propagate to the planets in the solar system, transferring their energy to the Earth’s magnetic field, and ionizing the upper part of the planet’s atmosphere.
When fast-moving solar flares hit the Earth’s magnetosphere, they can cause geomagnetic storms, which can hit satellites, disrupt GPS navigation, cell phone signals, and satellite TV, and may affect power grids in certain parts of the world. Solar storms are related to coronal mass ejections (CME), in which large amounts of plasma are thrown onto planets including the Earth. CME may take a few days to reach the earth, but some will arrive in 15-18 hours.
It is said that the largest solar storm to date occurred during the Carrington event in 1859. At that time, large-scale coronal ejection (CME) burned telegraph poles around the world. In 2014, NASA warned that such an outbreak would have a huge impact on modern power networks and telecommunications channels around the world. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the loss exceeded £1.45 trillion (US$2 trillion). Interestingly, in July 2012, the Earth barely escaped the CME at the Carrington level.