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Severe solar storm expected this weekend

A severe solar storm is expected this weekend. 

SANSA issued the warning on Friday

The South African National Space Agency (Sansa) has issued a severe space weather alert, warning of potential key grid asset trips and possible widespread voltage control problems as a solar storm is about to impact Earth.

“This week has seen a major increase in activity on the Sun with several strong solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) erupting from the Sun and sent on a collision course with the Earth.” 

The SANSA issued a G4 geomatic storm forecast.

‘We expect these eruptions to hit Earth between Friday and Sunday’

‘Moderate storm levels are now forecasted to reach up to G4/Severe storm levels’

Five eruptions of material from the sun’s atmosphere are due to hit Earth between Friday evening and Sunday.

“Geomagnetic storm conditions previously expected to reach G2/Moderate storm levels are now forecasted to reach up to G4/Severe storm levels! 

“The impact is expected later today into tomorrow 10-11 May. This may impact the performance of navigation and communications applications.” 

SANSA said.

FIVE ERUPTIONS OF MATERIAL ARE DUE TO HIT EARTH 

It further explained that the sun has an eleven-year solar cycle, going from solar minimum to solar maximum. 

“We are expecting to reach the solar maximum in 2025. As we move closer to solar maximum, we anticipate an increase in the frequency of space weather events. SANSA will continue to monitor and work with its clients and stakeholders in government and private sectors to ensure that they have access to real-time information to best protect their assets.” 

SANSA HAS A 24/7 OPERATIONAL SPACE WEATHER CENTRE IN HERMANUS 

The SANSA launched its 24/7 operational Space Weather Centre at its facility in Hermanus in November 2022. 

“This state-of-the- art facility operates around the clock to monitor and mitigate the risk of space weather on our continent. Since 2009, SANSA has actively studied and forecasted space weather, establishing itself as the only accredited space weather center in Africa”

WHAT IS A SOLAR STORM? 

According to Wonderopolis, solar storms occur when the Sun emits huge bursts of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. 

“These phenomena send a stream of electrical charges and magnetic fields toward the Earth at a speed of about 4 828 032km per hour,” 

it said.

When a solar storm strikes the Earth, it often produces a dazzling “northern lights” display in parts of the atmosphere that observers can see in areas close to the Arctic Circle.

“Solar storms can also disrupt satellites and various forms of electronic communications.” 

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