What is a solar storm, this phenomenon that hit the Earth last night?  – Liberation

What is a solar storm, this phenomenon that hit the Earth last night? – Liberation

A solar storm hit our planet overnight from Monday July 18 to Tuesday July 19. These phenomena, which are difficult to predict, can have an impact on electrical networks and satellites.

Last night, while the fans were running at full speed because of the heat wave, a lesser-known phenomenon quietly occurred. A solar storm has hit our planet. NASA explains its origin with a “Massive solar flare that had escaped from the Sun on July 14”. The phenomenon occurs when the Sun experiences a large surface flare that ejects plasma into space. These bursts of particles take several days to reach Earth, where they can disrupt the magnetic field, irradiate satellites and damage power grids, as already explained Release in 2020. On Twitter, space weather physicist Tamitha Skov details: “The long snake-like filament weaved its way out of the Sun in a breathtaking ballet”she writes in particular.

According to a study by the English University of Warwick, solar storms “big enough to cause significant disruptions to our electronic networks and systems occur on average every twenty-five years”. Richard Home, who works at a British scientific base in Antarctica, explained in our article, however, that this phenomenon was in fact more frequent: “Our study shows that a superstorm can happen more often than previously thought. And we must not be deceived by these statistical averages: it can happen at any time and we cannot predict it. A new peak of solar flares is thus expected in the summer of 2025.

Disrupted telecommunications and northern lights

Magnetic storms caused by a solar storm can have an impact on telecommunications networks, cause the loss of GPS, TV or radio signals, as well as on high altitude electrical networks. They can also cause the aurora borealis to appear at lower than normal latitudes. The effects can last from a few minutes to several hours.

On her Twitter account, Tamitha Skov followed the consequences of this solar storm. It relays in particular photos of the aurora borealis which have been seen in the United States and Canada by many Internet users. Around 4:30 p.m. in France, it indicated that they would be visible over Tasmania and New Zealand, then within a few hours in northern Asia, the United Kingdom and southern Europe. North.

The physicist also evokes a strong potential for level G1 storms. If this level is considered the lowest, it can still have an impact on satellite activity.

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