A ‘cannibal’ solar storm is headed for Earth

A ‘cannibal’ solar storm is headed for Earth
·1 min read

A series of explosions on the Sun could lead to a “cannibal” solar storm headed for the Earth.

In recent days, the Sun experienced two coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, during which particles burst out of its surface.

They are now headed for the Earth, where they could cause disruption to satellites and other important systems, space weather experts have warned.

And as they head towards us, together, they could cannibalise each other so that they become one even more powerful blast. Such cannibalism happens when one CME is thrown out of the Sun and then followed by a more energetic and faster blast, which then consumes it.

The pair are expected to arrive on Earth on Thursday or Friday.

There is some chance they will result in a G3 class geomagnetic storm, which is described as a “strong” storm. Such events are categorised in a scale running from G1 to G5, with the latter including widespread power system problems and communication shutdowns.

At worst, however, this week’s solar storms are expected to only reach G3. That could cause minor issues for some power systems, impacts on satellites, and problems with navigation systems.

It could also mean that aurora or northern lights are visible far further south than usual. The activity means that lights could be visible in the sky in Northern England or New York, according to the Met Office.

The Sun remains in a particularly active period, with watchers suggesting that the next few days could bring “High” levels of solar activity. That in turn could lead to yet more flares coming from the Sun.