More solar activity has been detected on the Sun, and it could spell bad news for the Earth. Currently, there is a coronal mass ejection (CME) that is traveling towards us and is likely to strike the planet on Sunday, September 17. But before it can even hit us, more solar flares have erupted on the Sun. Two different M-class solar flares were detected exploding on the notorious sunspot region AR3429 which has already caused multiple solar flares so far. The extreme radiation from the solar flares sparked radio blackouts on the Earth, and scientists are now looking into the fact whether another CME was hurled towards the Earth and if it can spark another solar storm.
The information comes from the official X account of SpaceWeatherLive which posted about the first solar flare at 4:18 AM today, September 16. It was noted to be a moderate solar flare with the intensity of M.173. It sparked a shortwave radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean region for a brief period of time. The second solar flare was spotted at 6:39 AM in the morning when a more powerful M2.92-intensity flare exploded. This particular radio blackout also impacted Australia and New Zealand. Drone pilots, mariners, amateur radio operators, and emergency responders, all those who use shortwave radio frequencies, would have suffered a temporary disruption.
With such intense solar activity, the chances are high that one of these eruptions will also release CME. And if we are unlucky enough to get hit by a strong solar storm, it can destroy small satellites, disrupt GPS and mobile networks, damage the internet infrastructure, cause power grid failure, and even corrupt sensitive ground-based electronics.
How NASA SOHO watches the Sun
NASA’s SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is a satellite that was launched on December 2, 1995. It is a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the sun, its atmosphere, and its effects on the solar system. Equipped with 12 scientific instruments, such as Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT), Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI), LASCO (Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph) and others, SOHO captures images of the Sun’s corona, measures the velocity and magnetic fields of the Sun’s surface, and observes the faint corona around the Sun.