The sun sends flashes to Earth: New Year's storm?

The sun sends flashes to Earth: New Year's storm?

On Monday (December 28), a group of sunspots exploded, sending flashes of M-class directly to Earth. Far-ultraviolet radiation quickly washed the upper layers of our atmosphere, initiating ionization, which caused radio interference in South America, Africa and the South Atlantic. According to, interference may have been detected by sailors and radio amateurs in the frequency range of 20 MHz.

Although the flash, of course, did not have the power of a large X-class flash (the most powerful class of flash), this event caused a significant emission of coronal mass (CME), which is currently racing towards the Earth. Space forecasters predict direct interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field on or on New Year’s Eve, which could potentially cause natural fireworks in the upper atmosphere just for 2016.

“The AR2374 sunspot has an unstable magnetic field in relation to the 'beta-gamma' decays, which can again cause an explosion in the next few hours,” writes NASA employee Tony Phillips for “NOAA predictors estimate a 55 percent chance additional M-class flashes and a 10 percent chance of X-class flashes on December 28 and beyond. " Outbreaks and coronal mass ejections are events caused by the same magnetic phenomena. During periods of high magnetic activity on the Sun, the internal magnetic field of the Sun passes through the photosphere of the Sun (colloquially known as the solar "surface"). This magnetism acts on the deep layers of the Sun, which, contrary to intuition, are colder (and therefore darker) than the chromosphere of the Sun (the atmosphere layer is above the photosphere), as well as its corona (region around the Sun with a temperature of several million degrees). Thus, the magnetically active regions can easily be seen on the solar disk as spots and as clusters of dark spots known as "sunspots".

Since magnetic field lines become attached to these spots, magnetic reconnection processes (conversion of magnetic field lines with energy release) can occur, which accelerates the solar plasma to relativistic velocities, generating intense radiation bursts. These solar flares and their radiation reach the earth within a few minutes. However, coronal mass emissions are bubbles of magnetized to high-energy plasma, which are released into space at high speed, but less than relativistic speeds. Emissions of coronal mass can reach the Earth within several hours or several days depending on the power of the eruption. Both today's outbreak and coronal mass ejection occurred due to the same spot that was directed to Earth, which maximizes our chances of a geomagnetic storm right during the New Year. So, if you live in high latitudes and pay attention to the sky, you can see how in the New Year, high-energy solar particles interact with our atmosphere, creating a bright glow.

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