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Solar wind travels 1,118,468 mph due to hit the ground Sunday



A solar wind from the middle, darker parts of this enhanced view of the sun from the GOES-16 weather satellite is heading towards Earth this weekend.  Image: NOAA / SWPC
A solar wind from the middle, darker parts of this enhanced view of the sun from the GOES-16 weather satellite is heading towards Earth this weekend. Image: NOAA / SWPC

Just days after the Earth was hit by a coronal mass ejection (CME), it appears that another explosion of solar wind is due to impact on the Earth on Sunday; it is currently traveling at a fast 1,118,468 mph towards the planet.

A minor G1-class Geomagnetic Storm is possible late Saturday to much of Sunday as the solar wind interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field. While the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center has not yet issued any advice for this solar wind, a clock or warning may be sent for this event tomorrow.

Diagram of NOAA weather scales for geomagnetic storms.  Image: NOAA
Diagram of NOAA weather scales for geomagnetic storms. Image: NOAA

In the system of geomagnetic storms, a G1 is considered the weakest. Although there could be some slight fluctuations in the power grid especially at northern latitudes, this type of event is more susceptible to satellites orbiting the Earth in space. A G1 event could also trigger a display of the Northern Lights or Northern Lights as far south as Michigan and Maine.

Coronal loops are a feature the solar corona researchers hope to learn more about during the coming solar eclipse.  Image: NASA / TRACE
Coronal loops are a feature the solar corona researchers hope to learn more about during the coming solar eclipse. Image: NASA / TRACE

While typically known for their weather forecasts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Weather Service (NWS) are also responsible for “space weather.” While there are private companies and other agencies that monitor and predict space weather, the official source of alarms and warnings of the space environment is the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). SWPC is located in Boulder, Colorado and is a service center for NWS, which is part of NOAA. The Space Weather Prediction Center is also one of nine National Centers for Environmental Forecasting (NCEP), as they monitor current space activity 24/7, 365 days a year.

Experts have indicated that we are entering an active solar cycle now, and events like this will increase in frequency and intensity in the coming months.

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