Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch: Moderately Strong Geomagnetic Storm May Hit Earth October 7-8

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Moderately Strong Geomagnetic Storm May Hit Earth October 7-8

Credit: NOAA

A G2-class (moderately strong) geomagnetic storm may hit our planet on October 7-8. The storming is expected due to a stream of solar wind arriving at Earth in the coming days. 
G2-class storm can cause voltage alarms and transformer damage in high-latitude power systems. When it comes to possible impact on spacecraft operations, in result of such storm, corrective actions to orientation may be required by ground control. Moderately strong geomagnetic storm can also spark auroras and cause fading of HF radio propagation at higher latitudes. 

In general, geomagnetic storms can increase the density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit. The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the in the ionospheric density that can modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS. While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents in the power grid and pipelines. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) informs that there is also a chance that minor storming may occur on October 10 and 19. 

“A brief return to unsettled levels is likely on October 9, with G1 (minor) storm levels likely returning on October 10 as CH HSS effects persist. Active levels are expected on October 11 as CH HSS [coronal hole high-speed stream] effects taper off. Mostly quiet to unsettled levels are expected from October 12 to 18, with isolated active periods likely on October 14 and 18. G1 levels are likely again on October 19 as another CH HSS influences the magnetic field,” NOAA reveals on its website. 

According to NOAA, fast CH HSSs can impact Earth’s magnetosphere enough to cause periods of geomagnetic storming to the G1-G2 levels; although rarer cases of stronger storming may also occur. The larger and more expansive coronal holes can often be a source for high solar wind speeds that buffet Earth for many days.

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