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Strongest solar storm in 165 years predicted to hit Earth

It is expected that powerful solar storms could significantly disrupt the operation of communications satellites and could even damage the Hubble Space Telescope.

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On May 10 and 11, the Earth was covered by a strong geomagnetic storm of level G5, which caused multiple disruptions in the operation of communications and energy systems on Earth. But scientists believe that more powerful solar storms are expected in the near future.

In this case, a geomagnetic storm may occur, which is comparable in power to the event that occurred in 1859, which caused the collapse of communications on the planet. Perhaps new storms will lead to even worse consequences, writes the Daily Mail.

According to Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, powerful eruptions on the Sun will continue until 2025. It is in the middle of next summer, as the scientist suggests, that the so-called solar maximum will occur. That is, the peak of solar activity, when a huge number of sunspots appear on the surface of the star, provoking the most powerful solar flares.

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According to McDowell, in the next year or more, we can easily expect the emergence of the strongest geomagnetic storms on Earth, which are caused by emissions of radiation and plasma from the surface of the Sun.

Scientists who monitor space weather believe that by July 2025, more than 100 sunspots will appear on the Sun, while at the solar minimum, which occurred 5 years ago, there were almost none

Given that the last major geomagnetic storm was caused by eruptions in a sunspot that was even larger than the one that triggered the 1859 geomagnetic storm, the scientist expects that a similar event could happen again in the near future.

165 years ago, due to a severe geomagnetic storm throughout the Earth, telegraph communications were turned off and the operation of compasses on ships was disrupted. It is believed that future impacts of the Sun on the Earth may be comparable to this event or even cause greater damage.

Scientists who monitor space weather believe that by July 2025, more than 100 sunspots will appear on the Sun, while at the solar minimum, which occurred 5 years ago, there were almost none. But now the number of sunspots on the Sun is growing and thus an increasing number of flares and plasma ejections (coronal mass ejections) are occurring.

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The stronger the eruptions on the Sun, the greater the negative impact they have on the operation of communication satellites and energy systems on Earth.

According to McDowell, satellites are already feeling this impact, because the density of the upper atmosphere increases and it is more difficult for satellites to move, which can lead to their fall, or at least to a change in their trajectory.

Even the Hubble Space Telescope, due to strong solar storms, as scientists have found, will most likely end its work earlier, because its orbit is decreasing. Also, strong radiation negatively affects the operation of telescope instruments.

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McDowell believes that in the near future, due to increased solar activity, we can expect even more negative consequences for technologies on Earth and in low-Earth orbit.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of anomalien.com, a website he created in 2013.