mappa blackout

Powerful explosion on the Sun hits the Earth, radio blackout also in Italy

A new series of flares solar was produced by our star yesterday, Friday, August 26, after a dazzling show of green auroras. The Solar Dynamics Observatory of the NASA caught a particularly powerful flare (class M7) generated by sunspot AR3089 at 11:16 UTC while in Europe And Africa a short occurred radio blackout (map above). A huge ejection of charged particles from the Sun, known as coronal mass ejection, could hit our planet on Monday 29 August and trigger auroras around the Arctic Circle, according to forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

On Monday, August 29, among other things, a geomagnetic storm class G1 is very likely to occur, as a high-speed flow of solar wind is expected to arrive. The gaseous material was emitted from a coronal hole in the solar atmosphere.

Credit: Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

The Sun, after a brief respite, is in a new phase of “restlessness” in these days, this in accordance with the concomitance of the maximum of the solar cycle of 11 years.

sunspot flare m7

Earlier this week, northern and southern lights were observed, also photographed from Space by the Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Most space weather, in its most dramatic form, offers a great spectacle for people on or near Earth, but a small number of particularly powerful storms can damage power lines, satellites and other vital infrastructure that our planet depends on.

The Sun is more prone to generate these extreme events when it reaches its peak of activity, as sunspots spread across the surface and magnetic lines twist and break. If a storm is headed towards Earth it can create auroras, blackouts and other effects.

NASA, the European Space Agency and other space entities keep an eye on the solar weather 24/7 to provide the best possible protection for the Earth, satellite operators and astronauts operating in orbit.

What is a solar flare (or flare)

Solar flares are the most violent explosions in the Solar System, and can also be observed on many other stars: they are sudden increases in brightness clearly visible in the X-ray bands, but there can be emission in all bands, from radium. ai gamma. In the X-band the solar corona emits radiation, the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere, characterized by tenuous plasma at millions of degrees. During flares, the plasma reaches temperatures well above 10 million degrees and a brightness that can exceed that of the entire corona.
In order of increasing power, the classes are A, B, C, M and X. Each class is ten times more powerful than the previous one.
The flares have a characteristic trend of brightness: a sudden increase, followed by a much more gradual decrease. They do not last long, from a few minutes to a few hours at the most, and are located in small regions on the surface of the Sun.
Being closed magnetic channels that hold solar plasma, these regions are mostly arc-shaped. Sometimes the strength of the flare is such as to generate solar flares, with clouds of plasma being projected into space. The flares are more frequent in periods of high solar activity, in the presence of intense magnetic fields of the spots. The cause of the flares is traced back to magnetic instabilities, which accelerate particles and release energy rapidly, causing a sudden increase in brightness, followed by a more gradual cooling.

What is a coronal mass ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) is an ejection of material from the solar corona. The ejected material, in the form of plasma, is mainly made up of electrons and protons: when this cloud reaches the Earth it can disturb its magnetosphere.

What is a geomagnetic storm

When phenomena of sudden and violent activity occur on the Sun, such as flares, large quantities of high-energy particles are emitted that travel quickly in Space, sometimes hurled towards the Earth: this current of particles is braked and deflected by the magnetic field terrestrial, which in turn is disturbed and distorted.
When this “impact” occurs, the Earth’s magnetosphere (the region around the Earth pervaded by the action of its magnetic field) suffers a strong backlash that can cause temporary blackouts in power grids or satellite communications systems. The well-known phenomenon of the polar auroras is also associated with geomagnetic storms.

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