A proposed method for analyzing and detecting solar storms might give people on Earth more than 24 hours of warning prior to getting hit by huge magnetic anomalies from the Sun, the ones which have the potential to alter everything from the GPS to the Satellites to the power girds.
This is a massive improvement considering the detection systems in the past that can provide a warning only 60 minutes (tops) before the event which certainly isn’t enough time to take all the measures necessary to protect vulnerable electronics and equipment.
Described in an article in the scientific journal Space Weather, the new detection system would make use of satellite-based cameras in many different locations for triangulating the occurance of a solar storm and finding out the orientation of its magnetic fields. The last factor is a difference between a damaging solar storm which is no biggie.
The prediction technique has only been tested on eight different solar storms so far, and the forecasts showed “significant agreement” with the predictions, as per Neel Savani, who is a space physicist affiliated with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who is leading the effort.
“Since these cameras are located at very different vantage points in space, we can use them in conjunction to improve our estimations of the total shape and location of the solar storm — much like the depth of field we achieve by seeing the world through two eyes,” Savani wrote in a blog post for Popular Science.
Specifically, CME based explosion which sends a wave of particles and electromagnetic energy hurtling across space into the Earth’s atmosphere has what it takes to disrupt radio transmissions an even damage transformers on the power grids.
Furthermore, the scariest risks is a possibility that a CME can cause harm to satellites in the GPS, which is one facility we are getting more and more dependent on for everything that includes navigation from one place to another.
Fortunately, not every CME causes that serious of a disturbance in the Earth’s atmosphere.