Earth experiences strongest solar storm since 2003

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According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Earth has experienced the first ‘extreme’ solar storm since 2003. The level five solar storm on the five-level scale was observed on Friday evening (local time), the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center explained.

The solar storm is expected to last through the weekend, according to NOAA. The agency also stated that GPS, power grids, spacecraft, satellite navigation, and other technologies could be affected. The region of origin of the solar storms—a large sunspot cluster—is about 16 times the diameter of the Earth, it said.

In addition to the possible disturbances, solar storms also produce impressive auroras. These can sometimes be seen much further south than in the regions where they can normally be observed.

Magnificent auroras in Austria too: Auroras have also been reported in Austria, for example. Due to the strong geomagnetic storm, these were visible as far as the Swiss latitudes, as the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss) announced on the online platform X (formerly Twitter) on Friday evening. A post on X (see below) shows the aurora borealis on the Jungfraujoch.

According to NOAA, the last time a category five storm, categorized as ‘extreme,’ was reached was in October 2003, during the so-called Halloween storms. At that time, there were power outages in Sweden, and transformers were damaged in South Africa.

Dangers for high-tech infrastructure: solar storms can cause a state of emergency. They are not dangerous to the earth, but they are to the high-tech world. During a solar storm, high-energy particles and a massive plasma cloud race toward the planets and can massively disrupt the infrastructure on and around the Earth.
This was painfully experienced two years ago by the private US aerospace company SpaceX, which lost around 40 of its satellites as a result of a solar storm.

  • source: krone.at/picture: pixabay.com
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