The solar storm that struck the Earth on March 15 after a powerful wave of coronal mass ejection (CME) escaped from the surface of the Sun, continues to haunt our planet. Surprisingly, the explosion took place on the farside of the Sun which should not have affected us, but as it was traveling at a mind-numbing speed of 3000 kilometers per second and created shock waves that pushed some of the CME particles towards the Earth. The impact was so severe that both the ends of the Earth witnessed aurora lights.
The incident was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “ CME struck Earth’s magnetic field yesterday, March 15th. The impact was so strong, it sparked auroras over both ends of our planet…This is the time of year when Northern and Southern Lights can be seen at the same time. We’re only days away from the March equinox. Nearly equal amounts of darkness allow sky watchers in both hemispheres equal opportunity to witness auroras”.
Intense solar storm sparks aurora in both hemispheres
The solar storm was noted to be at G2-class intensity, which is fairly strong and can disrupt wireless communications and GPS services, causing trouble for airlines, mariners, ham radio controllers and drone operators. The solar storm can delay flights, cause ships to change course and disrupt any important information that is shared through these low frequency channels.
The reason the same solar storm could light up both ends of the planet was because the equinox is so close. Right now, both the hemispheres are equidistant for any incoming solar particles. This means any high intensity solar storm will cause a double whammy on Earth by affecting both hemispheres.
This is the same solar storm which caused the polar cap absorption event and created a condition of short wave radio blackouts for a period of three days. Worryingly, the active region on the Sun where these explosions took place will be facing the Earth in a week’s time. If a similar eruption takes place then, the Earth might even see a solar storm that exceeds the Carrington event.