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A violent solar storm has been hitting the Earth since Friday

A violent solar storm has been hitting the Earth since Friday

Since Friday, a rare intense solar storm has begun affecting Earth. the Space Weather Prediction Center The SWPC has issued a Level 5 geomagnetic storm alert, on a scale of 5. According to the SWPC, this storm could cause serious disruptions to power and communications networks, as well as impressive northern lights. The storm is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

“A cascade of coronal mass ejections, which are explosions of energetic particles and magnetic fields from the Sun, is heading toward Earth,” explained Sean Dahl, a member of SWPC, an organization attached to the center.US Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (Noa). Agency Director Clinton Wallace said on the agency's website that it was an “extraordinary and potentially historic event.”

Potential disruptions to infrastructure

The first series of projectiles arrived at Earth on Friday at around 6:30 PM French time. Sean Dahl added, during a press conference, that the center “notified all the operators that we work with, such as satellite, communications, and of course the power grid operators in North America.” At least seven of its projectiles are directed toward Earth. They all come from a sunspot with a diameter about 16 times the diameter of Earth. It moves at a speed of several hundred kilometers per second.

In potentially affected areas, the Space Weather Prediction Center recommended residents equip themselves with potential batteries or generators, as is always the case with this type of storm warning. However, we should not panic, as Rob Steinberg, a scientist at the centre, explained. “For a decade, electricity operators have worked to better protect their grids. Impacts can only occur on high-voltage lines, not on individuals. GPS signals may also be affected,” he said.

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The last Level 5 alert dates back to 2003, an episode dubbed the “Halloween Storms.” It is possible that the current event will be significant even if it has not yet reached the level of the solar storm that occurred in 1859, which is the largest recorded according to NASA. Known as the Carrington Event, it also reached Level 5, causing severe disruption to telegraph communications.