A mysterious solar shock wave has ruptured Earth’s magnetosphere •

A mysterious solar shock wave has ruptured Earth’s magnetosphere •

On Monday, December 19, a mysterious shock wave in a burst of solar wind crashed into Earth’s magnetic field, opening a crack in the magnetosphere. Seconds space time – an organization that monitors these events – the plasma avalanche that penetrated the magnetosphere has caused a geomagnetic storm.

Although the exact origins of the shock wave are not known, scientists believe it could have come from a coronal mass ejection (CME) launched by sunspot AR3165, an area of ​​the Sun’s surface that has already released at least eight solar flares on December 14, causing a brief radio blackout in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunspots are areas on the Sun’s surface where strong magnetic fields, created through the flow of electrical charges, become intertwined before breaking apart and suddenly releasing bursts of radiation called solar flares, or plumes of solar material called solar flares. coronal mass Once launched, these CMEs can travel at extremely high speeds (often millions of miles per hour), sweeping charged particles from the solar wind that, if aimed at Earth, can trigger geomagnetic storms.

These storms occur when solar debris made up of electrons, protons and alpha particles are absorbed by the Earth’s magnetic field. If strong enough, they can create cracks in the magnetosphere that remain open for several hours, allowing some solar material to pass through and disrupt power systems, satellites, and radio communications.

Fortunately, the current storm was quite weak, causing only small fluctuations in power grids and damaging some functions of satellites, such as those of mobile devices and GPS systems. However, scientists predict that in the coming years, more powerful geomagnetic storms could warp our planet’s magnetic field to such an extent that satellites could fall to Earth, power systems could be severely disrupted, and the Internet could fail completely, causing trillions of dollars worth of damage, while triggering widespread blackouts and putting thousands of lives at risk.

For Andrei Ionescu, Staff writer

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