EcoAlert: Massive Solar Radiation Hitting Earth Now


A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) –a massive burst of solar wind, other light isotope plasma, and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space–is expected to hit Earth at about 0900 EST (1400 GMT) today, according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The radiation storm has remained at the S3 (Strong) level, but should now be at or near its peak, and is expected to begin to decrease soon, NOAA says. The forecast is for Moderate level geomagnetic storming with higher levels possible.

When the ejection is directed towards the Earth and reaches it as an interplanetary CME, the shock wave of the traveling mass of solar energetic particles causes a geomagnetic storm that may disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere. It can disrupt radio transmissions and cause damage to satellites and electrical transmission line facilities, resulting in potentially massive and long-lasting power outages
Characteristics of S3 (Strong) radiation storms (from NOAA):

Biological: radiation hazard avoidance recommended for astronauts on EVA; passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft at high latitudes may be exposed to radiation risk.

Satellite operations: single-event upsets, noise in imaging systems, and slight reduction of efficiency in solar panel are likely.

Other systems: degraded HF radio propagation through the polar regions and navigation position errors likely.

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