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Solar plasma jet hits Earth: understanding the phenomenon

Last Thursday (14), as reported by , a magnetic filament linked to sunspots AR3423 and AR3425 erupted. As a result, a jet of solar plasma was launched towards the Earth.

For this reason, a strong impact on the Earth’s atmosphere was expected for Sunday (17th), which would promise to cause geomagnetic storms from class G1 (weak) to G2 (moderate) – on a scale defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) . which goes from G1 to G5.

According to the space meteorology and climatology portal Spaceweather.comin fact the jet of plasma emitted by the Sun reached the planet on the expected day, early in the morning, around 0:45 (Brasilia time), causing geomagnetic storms of the weakest level.

No harmful effects (such as significant disruptions in radio communications signals or damage to orbiting satellites) have been reported, although this was possible.

Aurora watchers, already prepared to witness the beautiful displays of the so-called “northern lights”, were able to take several photos of the skies in places such as Iceland, Norway, Finland and Greenland. Residents of Canada and the northern United States also received gifts, although to a lesser extent.

First, let’s understand what plasma is. This is the fourth state of matter, in addition to solid, liquid and gas. It is a highly energetic form of matter that occurs when atoms or molecules of a gas are ionized, that is, they lose or gain electrons, resulting in a collection of electrically charged particles, such as positive ions and free electrons.

Jets of plasma from the Sun, or solar winds, are constant streams emitted from the star into space, carrying charged particles such as protons and electrons, as well as subparticles such as neutrinos.

Also called coronal mass ejections (CMEs), these jets can be faster or milder. The first type originates from cracks in the solar corona located at the Sun’s poles and travels at speeds that can reach 800 km/s. The other, located on the same plane as the Earth’s solar system, flows more “quietly”, maintaining a speed of about 400 km/s.

However, during the peak of the solar cycle, a regular period of about 11 years during which the Sun’s activity gradually increases, a transformation occurs in the star’s magnetic field. This inversion causes the appearance of sunspots that end up becoming coronal holes on the surface of the star, causing the emission of fast gusts of solar wind aimed directly at Earth.

According to NASA, these explosions are massive explosions coming from the Sun that shoot radiation-laden particles. These flares are classified into a letter system by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – A, B, C, M and X – based on the intensity of the X-rays they release, with each level having 10 times the intensity of the latter.

“The X class indicates the most intense flames, while the number provides more information on their intensity,” the agency explained in a statement. “An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense and so on. The explosions classified X10, the strongest, are unusually intense.

On average, solar flares of this magnitude occur about 10 times a year and are more common during solar maximum (the period of greatest activity) than solar minimum (the period of least activity). If the solar flare occurs near the center of the Earth-facing solar disk, it could release a significant coronal mass ejection capable of causing a severe (G4) to extreme (G5) geomagnetic storm on the planet.

In these cases the possible consequences would be:

In this linkyou have access to a table from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) which lists the effects and frequency of each of the five levels of geomagnetic storms.

Post-Solar Plasma Jet Hits Earth: Understanding the Phenomenon appeared first on Olhar Digital.

Source: Olhar Digital



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