A huge solar storm has hit Earth yesterday. The kind that people usually fret about, saying they will knock out our entire power grids and send us back to the Stone Age.
However, no damages have been reported. Instead, reports of beautiful red auroras have come in, including this amazing photo from Scott Kelly, an American astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station.
A potent blast of magnetic plasma shot out of the sun on Sunday, Independent writes in a report, travelling faster than usual, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It brought with it the biggest solar storm at least since March, and perhaps since September 2005.
Solar storms are potentially dangerous, as they can disrupt communication and navigation systems, as well as power grids.
According to NOAA space weather physicist Doug Biesecker, no damages have been reported. It’s likely that important systems have been built to withstand these storms.
The storm arrived on Monday afternoon and could last up to a day or even longer. It is caused by a solar flare, a sudden flash of brightness observed over the Sun's surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release.
They are often, but not always, followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection. The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event. The term is also used to refer to similar phenomena in other stars, where the term stellar flare applies.