Powerful solar explosion in six years 'Stuck in traffic': Physicist reveals weak solar wind is causing delays

By Stacy Liberatore for Dailymail.com

00:09 04 January 2024, updated 15:59 04 January 2024

  • The solar storm was scheduled to impact Earth on Tuesday, but it could happen later
  • A space weather physicist said that the solar wind was not as strong as expected
  • Read more: NASA detects the most powerful energy explosion from the sun in 6 years



The world waited on Tuesday for billions of particles released from the sun on New Year's Eve to collide with Earth, but one expert said the solar storm was “stuck in traffic.”

Dr Tamitha Skov told DailyMail.com The stream of solar wind before a solar storm, or coronal mass ejection (CME), He did not have enough strength to move forward at the expected rate.

“The radiation storm has increased to the official S1 level,” Skov said, and NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) shows the potential for a radio frequency disturbance on Wednesday and Thursday.

Also revealed Some terrestrial technology sensed parts of the storm – radio frequencies used by marine radios, possibly Starlinks and certain television broadcasts were disrupted “for a short time”.

A coronal ejection could eject billions of tons of coronal material from the surface of the Sun.

The edge of the storm experiments behind the foreground must exceed Earth's orbit for energetic particles to impact our planet.

Skov, which hosts space weather forecasts YouTube channelHe explained that the delay is likely due to two reasons, one of which is how the storm travels through space and weak solar winds.

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“The side (or edge) of a storm usually lags behind the top (or front) because of how these storms (also known as CMEs) expand in the solar wind as they move outward,” she said.

“This means that the top of the storm must travel beyond Earth's orbit before the edge reaches Earth and causes an impact.

This month's eruption was the most powerful blast of energy from the Sun since 2017, according to NASA, which captured the event using its Solar Dynamics Observatory, a probe that has been exploring the Sun since its launch in 2010.

“And of course, the side of the storm is moving slower and weaker than the top, resulting in a weaker impact.”

Add to that weak solar winds, and we have a traffic jam.

“Just as with slow traffic on a freeway, a faster vehicle following it will forcefully slow down and travel at roughly the same speed as the slower traffic in front of it,” Skov said.

The SWPC alert notes that potential impacts include “minor effects on HF (high frequency) polar radio propagation resulting in fading at lower frequencies.”

“The minor impacts on Polar HF are mainly related to the radiation storm causing degradation of high-frequency radio and GPS signals for those moving and communicating through the polar regions,” Skov said.

'Radiation storms affect the polar regions intensely due to the fact that the Earth's magnetic shield is “open” to radiation storm particles at the poles.

“The radiation storm has increased to the official S1 level,” Skov said, and NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) shows the potential for radio frequency disturbance on Wednesday and Thursday.

This month's eruption was the most powerful blast of energy from the Sun since 2017, according to NASA, which captured the event using its Solar Dynamics Observatory, a probe that has been exploring the Sun since its launch in 2010.

The footage shows a glowing region in the sun, becoming brighter before exploding and emitting an X5 flare – the highest level – from the edge of the massive star.

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SWPC explained that the public had nothing to fear but found that the initial radioactive explosion on December 31 caused a blackout over the Pacific Ocean.

The agency expected that the Earth would be exposed to a minor geomagnetic storm on Tuesday, which is a temporary disturbance in the Earth's magnetosphere caused by a solar wind shock wave.

“The risk that NOAA/SWPC refers to is radio outage at some level, which often affects GPS reception, but not always,” Skov said.

I went on to explain that New Year's

“I talked about this in my most recent forecast (which is why I'm asking pilots to check ICAO warnings for updates on the impact on radio communications and GPS navigation),” Schaaf said.

“Just like slow traffic on a motorway, a faster car following it will forcefully slow down and travel at almost the same speed as the slower traffic in front of it,” Skov told DailyMail.com.
Skov also revealed that some Earth technology sensed parts of the storm – radio frequencies used by marine radios, and Starlinks and certain TV broadcasts may have been disrupted “for a short period.”

Physicists also noted that the same explosion caused television broadcast systems that use ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio to transmit over the air to deteriorate.

SpaceX's Starlink signals may also have been disrupted “for a short period.”

“It is the radio waves (called 'radio bursts') that affect our reception of satellite signals such as GPS and even high-frequency radio communications,” Skov said.

“It's like the sun is literally screaming at us during a solar flare.

“These ‘screams’ are much louder than our satellites can ‘chirp’ and so they temporarily block satellite signals.”

“However, the sun doesn't always scream out the exact frequencies that affect GPS signals.”

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