Solar activity is growing rapidly: More solar flares are expected

The Sun has been particularly active lately. But last weekend, the Earth felt the effects of a solar storm. Recently, on July 21, a coronal mass ejection occurred on the Sun, which traveled through the Solar System and created a minor geomagnetic storm when it hit the Earth’s magnetic field.

Solar flare. Photo: Unsplash

This kind of solar activity is unlikely to affect the daily lives of most people. But it can affect satellites and make auroras brighter in other parts of the globe. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), such solar phenomena are likely to become more frequent in the coming months due to the cycle of solar activity.

“The 11-year cycle of solar activity is gaining momentum again. This means that phenomena such as coronal mass ejections and solar flares will occur more often. Depending on the size and trajectory of solar eruptions, possible consequences for near-Earth space and the Earth’s magnetosphere can cause geomagnetic storms that can disrupt the operation of power companies and communication and navigation systems. These storms can also cause radiation damage to orbiting satellites and the International Space Station,” writes NOAA.


Now scientists have a new tool for monitoring such outbreaks — the NOAA GOES-18 satellite. Launched by NASA in March 2022, this weather observation satellite has already sent stunning views of our planet taken using the Advanced Baseline Imager tool. But there are other instruments on board for observing the Sun, including an X-ray camera and an extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV) camera. The last can observe extremely high temperatures of the solar corona to see events such as outbursts and solar flares.

The first images of the Sun taken by the SUVI GOES-18 instrument show coronal mass ejection at different wavelengths

NOAA recently published the first images from the instrument Solar Ultraviolet Imager GOES-18, or SUVI, which shows the Sun in various extreme ultraviolet channels during a similar coronal mass ejection on July 10. You can see the ejection most clearly in the lower right image. Currently, GOES-18 is undergoing post-launch testing, including checking the instruments before they begin full operation. It is expected that the satellite will be ready for full operation in early 2023.

Recall that earlier we talked about 12 interesting facts about the Sun.

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