Is the most powerful Geomagnetic storm, of G-5 class, on the way? The Sun has been throwing some terrifying fits lately and the potential for that is always there. Here is what is happening. When particles thrown out by our Sun interact with the magnetosphere and the ionosphere of the Earth after a solar eruption, huge amounts of material crash into Earth. The magnetic field lines of the Earth temporarily get disturbed, and they release extremely high amounts of magnetic energy, causing the formation of Geomagnetic Storms. Most geomagnetic storms that are sparked on Earth are classified as G1 or G2, which are of relatively low intensity. But that doesn’t mean that the planet is safe from the impact of a strong Geomagnetic storm of higher, more dangerous, classes.
Recently, astrophotographers have spotted gigantic sunspots on the solar surface, forming a spotted pattern. Although as many as 8-10 sunspots are usually observed on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, this observation is particularly important as the Sunspots, AR3256 and AR3257, have been observed growing.
The larger a sunspot is, the bigger explosion it will cause, spewing out more solar matter. If this solar matter reaches Earth, it can spark an extremely dangerous G5-class Geomagnetic Storm, which could result in one of the most intense geomagnetic storms witnessed since the 1859 Carrington event, which caused multiple fires in telegraph stations as well as auroras all around the world.
G5-class Geomagnetic storm: How dangerous is it?
Although some of the Sunspots on the solar surface never even explode, it is important to know about the potential impact of such an intense explosion of solar matter. G5-class Geomagnetic storms are the most potent geomagnetic events ever observed. These storms have the potential to disrupt all forms of wireless communication, including GPS, mobile networks and satellite communications. These storms can even cause damage to ground-based infrastructure by harming repeaters in under-sea internet cables and blocking internet connectivity as well as mobile phone connectivity. Power grids are also susceptible to fluctuations and could potentially sustain irreversible damage.
G5-class Geomagnetic storms can even destroy small satellites in lower Earth orbit and damage sensitive instruments of the satellites in higher orbits. High voltage flux in the atmosphere could also result in electronics suffering heavy damage.