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Sun's 'Cannibal Coronal Mass Ejections’ to trigger geomagnetic storms on August 18

According to NASA, Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) can carry the mass of over 250 elephants and has the energy of 75 trillion lightning strikes.

August 17, 2022 / 09:23 PM IST
A coronal mass ejection on February 27, 2000 taken by SOHO LASCO C2 and C3. A CME blasts into space a billion tons of particles traveling millions of miles an hour.
Image credits: ESA&NASA/SOHO

A coronal mass ejection on February 27, 2000 taken by SOHO LASCO C2 and C3. A CME blasts into space a billion tons of particles traveling millions of miles an hour. Image credits: ESA&NASA/SOHO


Earthlings better brace for geostorms on August 18 as a phenomenon called  Cannibal Coronal Mass Ejections caused by the Sun is likely to result in power grid fluctuations, impact satellite operations, migratory animals, and also produce auroras.

As the Sun approaches its solar maxima (a phase of maximum activity in its 11-year solar cycle), a cloud of dark plasma erupted on its surface on August 14 which released a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), Weather.com reported.

The CME--a huge cloud of solar material that erupts from the Sun--has the power to affect Earth's magnetic field and on August 15, another CME was released right behind the first one.

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According to NASA, CMEs can carry the mass of over 250 elephants and has the energy of 75 trillion lightning strikes. And, as per the publications, the two CMEs are set to hit the Earth together on Thursday, August 18, according to US's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast model.

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The second CME might also overtake and "gobble up" the first one turning into a combination of the two CMEs. This "cannibal" CME contain tangled magnetic fields which can trigger strong geomagnetic storms.

Referring to the dark plasma eruption, Spaceweather.com stated, "Travelling faster than 600 kmps, the plume tore through the Sun's outer atmosphere, creating a coronal mass ejection (CME). Images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) confirm that the CME has an Earth-directed component."

The CMEs could result in minor to moderate geomagnetic storms on Earth. Minor geostorm or G1 can cause weak power grid fluctuations, affect satellite operations and migratory animals.

Moderate geostorms or G2 are more intense and can result in voltage alarms in high-altitude power systems and even cause transformer damage. They can also have an impact on spacecraft operations.

Read more: Top scientist tweeted photo of ‘distant star’, later admitted it was a sausage slice
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first published: Aug 17, 2022 09:12 pm
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