The biggest cosmic event of the week is scheduled for today. Earlier this week, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) of NASA detected two separate coronal mass ejections from the Sun, with both of them expected to make partial contact with the Earth. This event is being called the ‘double solar storm’ event and as per NASA, it will occur today, July 7, at around 5:30 PM IST/ 12 PM UTC. The event is concerning to researchers because two separate CME hits can greatly amplify the overall intensity of the solar storm and can cause unexpected destruction.
Dr. Tamitha Skov, a space weather scientist and popularly known as the space weather woman, tweeted, “The Sun launches double punch #solarstorms on #July4th! NASA prediction shows impact before noon July 7 UTC. The first storm is slower & will go mainly northeast. The second is faster & more a direct hit. Fast solar wind follows”. She further added that a G1-class storm is possible with auroras spreading across till mid-latitudes.
Double solar storm to strike the Earth today
While early predictions show that the possibility of a solar storm is between minor to moderate, it cannot be said with certainty just how strong the event might be. Even if it ends up being moderate, such solar storms can still cause radio blackouts and disrupt GPS signals, although they are not intense enough to affect mobile networks or damage satellites.
Even after this event, another solar threat is brewing up for our planet. As per a report by Spaceweather.com, a new and large sunspot is now entering the Earth’s view from the southeastern limb of the Sun. The helioseismic echo from the farside of the Sun suggests that the sunspot can be even bigger than the AR3354 group that exploded twice and produced an X-class solar flare.
Know about the Hinode (Solar-B) satellite
Hinode ( Solar-B ) is a Japanese-led solar mission with the participation of the European Space Agency (ESA). It was launched on September 23, 2006, and continues to be in operation today. The main goal of the mission is to study the mechanisms that power the solar atmosphere and look for the causes of violent solar eruptions.
Hinode carries a suite of three science instruments. First, an optical telescope, which images the Sun in visible light; second, an X-ray telescope, which images the Sun in X-rays; and third, an extreme ultraviolet imaging spectrometer, which measures the intensity of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light from the Sun.
These instruments are used to study the generation, transport, and dissipation of magnetic energy from the photosphere to the corona. They are also used to record how energy stored in the Sun’s magnetic field is released as the field rises into the Sun’s outer atmosphere.