Here’s how the massive geomagnetic storm hitting Earth today could have an impact

We are in the final throes of a geomagnetic storm that occurred this week. This is a cosmic phenomenon that is expected to peak in the next few hours after arriving on the 17th, and which may cause some problems in the planet’s telecommunications infrastructure.

[Los posibles efectos de la eyección solar que alcanzó a la Tierra el 21 de julio]

The Space Weather Prediction Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last day 16 that a geomagnetic storm of category G3 (from a maximum of 5) will reach the Earth between days 17 and 19. Therefore, we are in the last leg of this storm, which by this date has already been downgraded to G2.

These storms occur when the solar winds reach high enough energy to reach our planet. These storms can last up to several hours and depend mainly on of a coronal mass ejection or CME, which determine its intensity. How can it affect us?

geomagnetic storm

These storms are temporary disturbances that primarily affect the Earth’s magnetosphere. They are primarily caused by either a coronal mass ejection interacting with our Earth’s magnetic field or a solar wind shock wave. They arise mainly from the changes that the streams of particles that are ejected from the Sun undergo.

The solar wind undergoes a pressure increase that compresses , and the solar wind’s magnetic field interacts with that of Earth, transferring this energy to the magnetosphere. Both interactions cause the plasma to move through the magnetosphere move more as well as an increase in the electric current of the magnetosphere and ionosphere.

The duration of these storms can vary mainly depending on the speed at which they arrive. They are held with solar maximum, a period of increased solar activity occurred in periods of 11 years. The peak of this period is expected to come in 2025.

Although NOAA wanted to calm things down by ensuring that G3 storms are generally minimal, they can cause “the northern lights to deviate from their usual place of residence.” Thus, the auroras can be seen from parts of the world such as Pennsylvania, Iowa or Oregon.

What effects does it have?

The peak of this storm came on the 18th, at which time it was classified as a G3. It dropped to G1 on the 17th and rose to G2 today. Therefore, we can be sure that impacts on Earth’s space satellite and telecommunications infrastructure are not at risk.

The effects of these geomagnetic storms can be damaging to communications systems and power grids. The one we’re experiencing in particular shouldn’t be at a level of strength to cause havoc, but in its biggest stages (e.g. in the G4 category) it can cause damage to GPS signals, problems in navigation systems or electronic damage in spaceships.

They could also affect landline telephony, generate damage to the Internet network, leave large regions offline. These storms can even damage the underwater cables that establish the global fiber-optic network through electrical repeaters, and a major storm will leave much of the world without communication, with consequences that can last for months.

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