Solar Wind Enveloped the Earth for a Few Hours: Report
On late Wednesday, 14 July, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a massive stream of solar wind is said to have enveloped Earth, reported Hindustan Times.
There was no huge impact as such caused by the solar wind. The solar wind wasn't as powerful as expected when measured on the weather scale and no notable impact was noticed.
A solar storm was expected to hit the earth on 13 July. Reports suggested it would lead to power outages, interrupt internet connections and the visibility of auroras in areas near the poles like Alaska and Iceland.
However, no such sightings have been reported.
The Solar Wind
The solar wind, according to the NOAA is said to have hit the earth at 22:11 IST with a geometric K-index (a measure of disturbance in the earth's magnetic field) of 4. Index 4 indicates a Minor disturbance.
The report also said that the wind only caused weak power fluctuations in some areas.
Though it is harmless to anyone on the Earth's surface, geomagnetic waves that are unleashed by solar storms can disrupt radio communications, cause power grids, and expose airline crews to dangerous levels of radiation. It can also interrupt critical satellites.
According to NASA, solar winds are created due to the expansion of plasma from the Sun's outer atmosphere called corona.
The phenomenon occurs as a result of the Sun's rotation which happens once in 27 days.
The wind expands to form a 'bubble' around the sun's atmosphere and can extend beyond the orbit of the planets in the solar system essentially enveloping them.
On earth, this wind doesn't have much of an impact because it is deflected by the Earth's magnetic field.
It is reported that once in 1989, a solar storm lasted nine hours over Quebec causing a province wide outrage.
(Written with inputs from Hindustan Times and Live Mint.)
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