NASA Warns of “Cannibalistic” Solar Storm Threatening Earth’s Communications
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has issued a warning about a “cannibalistic” solar storm that is expected to have a significant impact on Earth’s communications. The storm, caused by up to four coronal mass ejections projected by the Sun, is expected to reach its peak on December 1.
The most powerful of these coronal mass ejections, which occurred on Tuesday, November 28, reached a category M9.8, just two tenths away from being classified as one of the most powerful solar storms, known as an X-class storm. All of these ejections originate from a sunspot known as AR3500.
According to NASA, the solar storm has the potential to cause disruptions in shortwave radio communications, as evidenced by problems in some areas of the South Pacific. The energy from the storm is estimated to be traveling at 800 kilometers per second and could lead to the northern lights being visible further south than usual.
The impact of the storm on Earth’s communications infrastructure is of particular concern, as it could potentially cause difficulties in the control of electrical networks and fluctuations in the energy supply. Satellites orbiting the Earth could also be affected by the storm.
However, NASA points out that Earth has a natural defense shield in the form of its magnetic field, which helps deflect the electric wind from solar storms towards the poles. Despite the potential disruptions to communications and electrical networks, NASA states that solar storms are not harmful to human beings.
The Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Research (IIGEA) AC also anticipates that the effects of the solar storm could lead to northern lights being visible even on the US and Mexico border. The organization has stated that the impact of the solar storm will be felt for three days and could potentially affect communications in the region.
Despite the potential for disruptions, the IIGEA AC also highlighted the possibility of witnessing an orange-reddish sunset in Mexico due to the solar storm and invited individuals to share their photos of the phenomenon.