‘Cannibal’ solar storm at full speed towards Earth – NRK Nordland

'Cannibal' solar storm at full speed towards Earth - NRK Nordland

Photographers of the aurora borealis await excitedly.

Now it’s time to get the eldorado color in the sky.

– He increased from G2 to G3 during the night, says Pål Brekke.

– This means that there will be a very strong geomagnetic storm. For most people, this will mean that the northern lights can be seen far into the country, perhaps even central Europe.

Thursday arrives

Brekke is the subject manager at the Norwegian Space Centre.

He can tell that the cause is the eruption of the sun:

– What’s special here is that we have two solar storms right after each other. The first is on August 14 and the second is on August 15.

The latter is moving faster and is expected to catch up with the former.

– thus “eats” the first and accumulates everything into something larger and more powerful. Brikki explains that they call it a “cannibal solar storm.”

This can be explained as follows:

Here we see an illustration of the sun.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


A solar storm (a cloud of electrifying magnetic gases) weighing billions of tons is being thrown from the sun into space at speeds of up to 2,000 kilometers per second.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


Here we see how artist Walt Wimmer envisions this happening.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


In English it is called coronal mass ejections, and it is a fierce substance.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


After the first, a second CME suddenly appears from the same region on the Sun.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


The second moves faster, catching up with the first.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


they merge.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


And get a larger and more complex structure.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center


It’s something like that going our way now.

Illustration: NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center

But this is not enough:

In addition, there is a large coronal hole on the Sun that indicates our direction.

Simply explained, the particles are ejected from this at twice the speed of the rest of the Sun. Like a gust of wind, these particles hit us all this evening.

There may be good northern lights tonight, and maybe down to southern Norway.

So, sometime during the day tomorrow, it was announced that these two solar storms would hit Earth together.

It’s a warning, and warnings can change as you know. But so far, this is what is going on.

Released space weather forecast.

A so-called coronal mass ejection (CME) could cause the aurora borealis farther south this week. Graphics from US NOAA.

Photo: swpc.noaa.gov

shake magnetic field

When one says that a “G3 geomagnetic storm” is expected, it is based on a scale of 1 to 5.

A medium-size (M2) flare erupted and ejected a coronal mass from the same large active region (July 14, 2017).  The glow lasted about two hours, which is a very long time.  Coronagraphs on the SOHO spacecraft show a large cloud of charged particles exploding in space just after the explosion.  The curved coils above this active region are particles spiraling along magnetic field lines, which were realigning themselves after the magnetic field was disrupted by the explosion.  The images were taken at a wavelength of intense ultraviolet radiation.  https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21836

Here, among others, a CME photo of July 14, 2017.

Photo: NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory

G3 isn’t at the top of the scale, but it’s still relatively strong, and not something that happens often.

– When a gas cloud hits us, it “shakes” the Earth’s magnetic field. This will create a current in the long metallic objects. Like power lines and oil pipelines and things like that.

– Then you can bring in so much current that you get an unstable power grid. In the worst case, Brick says, some transformers could burn out, and the electricity might go out.

It’s happened before, he notes.

– I suppose Statnett and the electric companies are following closely. Satellites in low orbit will also feel more friction, and so can lose altitude more quickly. They may also have steering problems. The wireless connection is often reduced and sometimes turned off.

Northern Lights in Vesterålen.

Colorful: The aurora borealis is a wonderful sight, and in the next few days they can be seen very far to the south.

Photo: Andre Mammer Birkeland Sex / Vistrollen Tours

Researcher Magnar Julekstad-Johnsen works at the Northern Lights Observatory in Tromsø.

noticing that Those launching satellites should be careful now.

For example, SpaceX lost about 30 Starlink satellites in a similar accident earlier this year.

At Statnett, they are aware of the situation.

In an email, they stated that they received a notification of an increase in activity this week, by Solar storm warning system in Tromsø.

At Statnett, we monitor the power grid 24 hours a day, year round, and are prepared and monitored for the solar storm, but we haven’t taken any special measures, writes SSenior Communications Consultant Marianne Vigberg to NRK.

Solar storms have so far not caused any major problems, but we’ve had an undesirable consequence at a transformer plant in the past, without affecting our electricity customers. Our systems are set up so that it is possible to connect to other lines in the event of a power outage, so that the power supply is conserved.

Scientists are working on preparing the electricity grid

Because powerful solar storms can cause severe damage to navigation systems, power grids, and Satellites Is this also an area where a lot of research is being done.

In 2019, a separate solar storm project was launched at Steinkjer in Trøndelag.

The goal was to learn more about how large solar storms can damage transformers and destabilize Norway’s power supply.

The project was mentioned by TU.no, which in an article It can be said that there are thousands of large transformers in the northern hemisphere. An area exposed to room weather.

By installing sensors on a transducer specifically for Statnett, the goal was to get important knowledge in place, he says. SINTEF– Researcher Christian Solheim Thien.

– We see that solar storms put pressure on the electricity grid. Even a relatively mild storm affects a lot. So when something big comes along, there can be problems. There is often a sequential effect. If one and two come out first, it will escalate quickly.

SINTEF researcher Christian Solheim Thien.

Research project: Christian Solheim Thien takes part in an exciting project that looks closely at how solar storms affect the power grid.


in The United States and Canada lost several million in electricity under one A solar storm in 1989. In Sweden, parts of Malmö lost power during “Halloween Storm” in 2003.

When increased activity on the Sun is now expected in the coming years, the likelihood of major solar storms also increases. In two years’ time, we will be entering a new “solar cap”.

– We installed this during the Solar Minimum, and we’re excited to see what happens now that it’s coming to an end. Both how the network is performing and what is being measured.

Typically feared storms occur every 500 to 1,000 years. And projects like this one can arm us against.

– What we want is to have a good notification service.

– It is especially important that the electricity industry be able to monitor and supervise, so that they can quickly know what measures to take when solar storms occur.

There will be more northern lights in the coming years

Pål Brekke confirms that it is heading towards a more active period on the sun.

After a few years of quiet, we are now entering a new solar cycle.

Northern Lights in Vesterålen.

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS AT VESTERÅLEN: Jens Andre Mehammer Birkeland took this photo last year. Now he’s excited about what the next few nights will be like.

Photo: Jens Andre Mehammer Birkeland / Vesterålen Tours

He says it is a cycle that is likely to be more virulent than anticipated.

– A few experts said that this would be a very strong cycle. They seem to get it right.

The sun was more active than models suggest. Last year, the sun was much higher than estimated.

This is good news for Twilight hunters.

Northern Lights photographer Benny Hoenes predicts more volcanic eruptions in the coming years, before peaking in 2025.

– In the coming years, this will be good news for aurora photographers.


Four things that can be thrown from the sun in a solar storm

Go to

Pål Brekke explains that there are four things that can be eliminated by a solar storm. The first is torches.

Flares are strong flares in which there is a lot of X-rays / UV rays. Brick says the radiation hits us right away, and it can cause radio communication problems and things like that.

Sometimes high-energy particles are present. They can destroy satellites and people in space.

– Then you have the gas cloud that takes two days to reach us, which we can be notified in advance. Then you can estimate the arrival of the Earth, and thus also the warning of the aurora borealis.

– Then there are certain times when there is strong radio radiation from the sun. They are often on the same frequency as GPS satellites, Galileo and some portable masts. This can interfere with GPS and wireless communication.

All of these elements have different impacts on our technological society.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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