A powerful solar flare has erupted from the surface of the sun, causing possible disruptions to satellite navigation and other essential services.
According to NASA and the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre, a mid-level solar flare reached its peak at approximately 4.23 am AEST on June 23, pummelling the Earth with dangerous levels of radiation.
While the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects those living on the Earth’s surface, the radiation may be hazardous to satellites in orbit.
In the last 24 hours, solar activity peaked at ‘G4’ on the geomagnetic space weather scale provided by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Centre, which has the potential to knock out navigation satellites for a period of hours, as well as cause other satellites to temporarily malfunction.
A G4 geomagnetic storm also has the potential for “possible widespread voltage control problems” for power grids on the ground.
So far there have been no reports of power outages or GPS disruptions, however further solar activity is expected in the following days.
This level of geomagnetic storm is unusual, occurring for approximately sixty days out of every eleven years.
Extreme solar storms have the potential to cause widespread issues for modern electrical and communication systems.
In 1859, a massive solar coronal mass ejection caused magnificent auroras to be visible as far north as Queensland and as far south as Cuba.
The solar storm, designated as ‘Carrington-class’ by modern sources, caused telegraph systems across North America and Europe to fail.
It has been estimated by researchers that a similarly sized solar storm today would cause up to $2.6 trillion in economic losses for the United States alone, with power outages affecting up to 40 million people for a period of 16 days to two years.
NASA says there are more on the way, meaning stargazers will have a few days to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis (or northern lights). Watch the breathtaking Northern Lights here.
“Solar wind conditions remain highly favorable for continued Strong Geomagnetic storming, with both fast solar wind and strong magnetic fields,” NOAA officials wrote in a forecast update. “Aurora watchers in North America, especially northern tier states of the US, should stay alert.”
The storm’s solar winds — buoyed by a solar flare released Sunday — have continued to bombard Earth, leading officials at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center to categorize the storm as a G4 level, or severe, geomagnetic storm.
The unusually intense aurora was seen Monday from space as the storm first arrived. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, currently aboard the International Space Station, posted a series of photos showcasing the glowing interactions between solar radiation and Earth’s magnetic field.
The most intense solar storms tend to be red, with less intense winds resulting in blues and greens.
As of Tuesday, no significant communications disruptions had been reported. It’s likely local power grids have witnessed minor current fluctuations as a result of the radiation, but modern electrical systems are designed to withstand such circumstances.
Another flare was launched from the solar surface on Monday, sending out another wave of radiation. Those storming solar winds are expected to arrive late Wednesday and last through Thursday.
“This timing bodes well for aurora watchers in North America,” SWPC forecasters wrote in a recent update.
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And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke (Acts 2:19 KJV).
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars…” Luke 21:25 (KJV).
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness – 2 Peter 3:13 (KJV).
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:-Psalm 102:25-26 (KJV).
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. read more.And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? – Revelation 6:12-17 (KJV).
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. – Revelation 7:16 (KJV).
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. – Psalms 121:6 (KJV).
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. – Joel 3:14-15 (KJV).
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. – Isaiah 60:19 (KJV).
For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it – Jeremiah 4:28 (KJV).
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse – Romans 1:20 (KJV).
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.- Psalm 113:3 (KJV).
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. – Isaiah 45:6 (KJV).
For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. – James 1:11 (KJV).