Coronal Hole '30 Times Earth's Size' Hurls Solar Plasma Towards Earth
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory released a photo showing a massive coronal hole forming in the sun's atmosphere, ejecting a stream of fast-moving solar winds toward Earth.
"The current coronal hole, the big one right now, is about 300,000 to 400,000 kilometers across," Alex Young, the associate director for science at NASA Goddard's Heliophysics Science Division, told Bussiness Insider. He said, "that's about 20-30 Earths lined up back-to-back."
Young said coronal holes unleash solar winds that can travel between 500-800 km per second. He explained the coronal mass ejection would reach Earth by Friday.
"We will probably start seeing the effects of the high-speed wind on March 24.
"When the high-speed wind reaches Earth, the particles and the magnetic field it carries will interact with Earth's magnetic field, effectively rattling it or like ringing a bell," he said.
Space Weather website SolarHam said when the solar winds hit Earth, it will produce a moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm.
Here's a visual of the CME's impacts on modern society.
In addition to this week's geomagnetic storm risk, Sunspot Cycle 25 has already started and is anticipated to be active. This could spell trouble for the digital economy, as disruptions caused by solar flares may lead to economic harm.
Last year, Elon Musk's satellite internet service Starlink lost 40 satellites after a geomagnetic storm knocked them out of orbit.