‘Canyon of fire’ on Sun unleashes three-day solar storm on Earth starting today

Electromagnetic explosions on the Sun's surface have formed a "canyon of fire" that have sent solar storms our way, starting today.

The impact of solar storms can range from disrupting radio frequencies for a few hours to wiping out satellites and destabilising power grids.

The Carrington Event of 1859, the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history, caused fire at telegraph stations and illuminated the Earth's skies with auroras.

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An exploding solar filament slammed into our planet earlier today initiating a G-1 class geomagnetic storm, which is expected to last three days.

Although that is the weakest level of solar storm, some experts have said we may see a much more powerful G-3 storm, reports the Express.

NASA has warned of weak power grid fluctuations and minor disruptions to satellite operations.

According to spaceweather.com, solar observers first spotted the filaments on July 12 as they appeared as dark, thread-like strands against the Sun’s bright background.

Three days later, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an eruption as "a dark filament of magnetism whipsawed out of the sun's atmosphere, carving a gigantic 'canyon of fire'" experts at spaceweather.com wrote.

The canyon of fire was observed to be about 20,000km deep and about 384,400km long.

The canyon traced the channel where the strand was suspended by magnetic forces above the surface of the Sun before instabilities belched the solar explosion right towards the Earth.

Tamitha Skov, a space weather physicist, wrote on Twitter "The long snake-like filament cartwheeled its way off the Sun in a stunning ballet.

"The magnetic orientation of this Earth-directed solar storm is going to be tough to predict. G2-level (possibly G3) conditions may occur if the magnetic field of this storm is oriented southward!"

A G-3 geomagnetic storm is classified as strong, and according to NASA, causing disruptions to power and disorienting low-earth orbit satellites.

Solar filaments are gigantic strands of electrified gas or plasma that float around the atmosphere of the Sun, influenced by its powerful magnetic field.

These unstable strands usually appear above sunspots, which are magnetically disturbed regions on the Sun's surface.

Once the filaments collapse, they could launch powerful explosions of solar energy known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) – clouds of charged particles and electromagnetic fluctuations.

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A new study presented at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2022) earlier this month warned railway signal failures may also be linked to space weather events like solar storms.

Cameron Patterson of Lancaster University believes such space weather events can induce electrical currents that interfere with the normal operation of signalling systems.

For example, this could potentially turn green signals red when there is no train nearby.

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