'Cannon of fire' solar storm due to hit Earth TODAY could spark radio blackouts | The Sun

A SOLAR storm is expected to tackle Earth's magnetic field today – here's what you need to know.

Strong solar activity is going to strike Earth today after active sunspots were first noticed on July 11, per The Conversation.

The sunspots contributed to a solar eruption in the Sun's atmosphere on July 15, which led to "an unstable filament of magnetism" experts from Space Weather said.

Solar filaments are clouds of ionized gas above the solar surface that sit between magnetic regions of opposite polarity, per Space Weather Live.

That magnetism has now culminated in "a slow-moving CME", or coronal mass ejection in the past few days.

A CME is a type of solar flare or an eruption of intense high-energy radiation from the sun's surface.

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"Forecasters believe a high-speed stream of solar wind is following close behind the CME," SpaceWeather experts said.

"Its arrival on July 22nd could amplify any storm the CME creates, prolonging the unrest through July 23rd."

CMEs have the ability to form G1-class geomagnetic storms.

Geomagnetic storms are defined as "a disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth," per the NOAA.

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"These storms result from variations in the solar wind that produces major changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in Earth’s magnetosphere."

How powerful are geomagnetic storms?

Geomagnetic storms are graded by severity on the G-Scale from G1 to G5, with the latter being the most powerful.

Level 1 storms – or G1 on the G-Scale – don't harm humans on Earth but can cause minor disruptions to power grids and satellite operations.

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They may also pose a risk to astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

Meanwhile, a G5 storm – which is quite rare – is considered'extreme' and can be very powerful.

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