Geomagnetic storm to hit Earth, GPS signals may get affected
New Delhi : A geomagnetic storm is likely to hit Earth today (October 30) after a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun late Thursday night. The Space Weather Prediction Center under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued warnings related to it.
According to reports, the CME will take more than 2 days to cross the sun-Earth divide and should hit hit Earth on October 30. As per side effect of the geomagnetic storm, the planet's GPS signals might get affected, however, there is no official confirmation regarding the same as yet.
Interestingly, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has also notified about "significant solar flare" erupting from the Sun, which can likely result in disruptions in GPS signals on Earth as well as supercharge Earth's northern lights. The Sun on Thursday emitted an X1-class flare, the most intense so far at 11.35 am, NASA said in a statement on Friday.
"POW! The sun just served up a powerful flare," the US space agency said in a tweet. NASA said that the X1-flare is also likely to hit Earth's magnetic field on Saturday.
What are solar flares?
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. While the harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however, when intense enough, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. It can also supercharge Earth`s northern lights (auroras).
According to SpaceWeather.com, it "created a massive tsunami of plasma that rippled across the entire solar disk: The plasma wave was about 100,000 km tall and moved through the sun`s atmosphere faster than 1.6 million mph".
So there is no need to panic if you find your GPS not working properly on October 30; the problem is not in the device but in the atmosphere.