Unexpected solar winds hit Earth as experts THIS WEEK warn of geomagnetic storms that could disrupt power grids

An unexpected torrent of solar wind has hit Earth’s atmosphere as experts warn of geomagnetic storms that could disrupt power grids this week.

Experts from SpaceWeather.com reported that Earth’s magnetic field was jolted Sunday morning by the surprise arrival of the solar wind.

Solar winds have caused a disturbance in the Earth's polar magnetic field

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Solar winds have caused a disturbance in the Earth’s polar magnetic fieldPhoto credit: Getty
These solar winds were the result of a sunspot on the sun's surface

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These solar winds were the result of a sunspot on the sun’s surfacePhoto credit: Getty

Solar winds, made up of protons and electrons from the sun’s atmosphere, move through space and can affect planets.

This movement of charged particles may cause perturbations in Earth’s polar magnetic field, which occurred Sunday after solar winds approached Earth.

Space Weather reported earlier Sunday that solar winds are expected to approach Earth on August 9th.

The winds were caused by gaseous material “flowing from an equatorial hole in the Sun’s atmosphere.”

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The gap, or sunspot, is a large dark spot on the Sun caused by magnetic disturbances in the star’s atmosphere.

Sunspots can cause solar winds, as seen in this case.

Experts have now warned of a possible geomagnetic storm that will occur if there is a major disruption in the Earth’s magnetosphere.

The planetary “K-index,” which measures the strength of geomagnetic storms, has reached four, according to Space Weather.

Four out of nine means Earth is almost on the cusp of creating a geomagnetic storm.

This number could soon reach five, which would mean that a small geomagnetic storm would form.

Minor power grid fluctuations can occur during a level five geomagnetic storm.

A minor impact on satellite operations would also be possible.

Aurorae, like the Northern Lights, are also common at high latitudes like northern Michigan and Maine.

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An aurora is usually seen when electrons reach Earth’s thin upper atmosphere, colliding with nitrogen and oxygen molecules and driving them into an excited state.

As the electrons settle, they release colorful lights that are visible to the naked eye in high-latitude regions.

https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5949408/geomagnetic-storm-solar-winds-sun-earth-space/ Unexpected solar winds hit Earth as experts THIS WEEK warn of geomagnetic storms that could disrupt power grids

Chris Barrese

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