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Extreme space weather events and High Altitude Nuclear Detonations threat to ground , air and space assets require Real time Space Weather forecasting and response

Space weather refers to variations in the space environment between the sun and Earth (and throughout the solar system) that can affect technologies in space and on Earth.  Space weather can disrupt the technology that forms the backbone of country’s economic vitality and national security, including satellite and airline operations, communications networks, navigation systems, and the electric power grid, says National Space Weather Strategy product of the National Science and Technology council.


Active events on the sun can lead to interference in the propagation of radio signals.  Space weather events, in the form of solar flares, solar energetic particles, and geomagnetic disturbances, occur regularly, some with measurable effects on critical infrastructure systems and technologies, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite operations and communication, aviation, and the electrical power grid.Space weather affects the radiation doses that airline pilots and passengers receive, especially with transpolar flights.


Over the past three years, SpaceX has deployed thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit as part of its business to beam high-speed internet service from space. But the company’s latest deployment of 49 new satellites after a Feb. 2021 launch did not go as planned.


As a consequence of a geomagnetic storm triggered by a recent outburst of the sun, up to 40 of 49 newly launched Starlink satellites have been knocked out of commission. They are in the process of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, where they will be incinerated.


The incident highlights the hazards faced by numerous companies planning to put tens of thousands of small satellites in orbit to provide internet service from space. And it’s possible that more solar outbursts will knock some of these newly deployed orbital transmitters out of the sky. The sun has an 11-year-long cycle in which it oscillates between hyperactive and quiescent states. Presently, it is ramping up to its peak, which has been forecast to arrive around 2025.


This recent solar paroxysm was relatively moderate by the sun’s standards. “I have every confidence that we’re going to see an extreme event in the next cycle, because that typically is what happens during a solar maximum,” said Hugh Lewis, a space debris expert at the University of Southampton in England. If a milquetoast outburst can knock out 40 Starlink satellites hanging out at low orbital altitudes, a more potent solar scream has the potential to inflict greater harm on the mega-constellations of SpaceX and other companies.


As the Nation becomes ever more dependent on these technologies, space weather poses an increasing risk to infrastructure and the economy. The Strategic National Risk Assessment has also  identified space weather as a hazard that poses significant risk to the security of the Nation. Clearly, reducing vulnerability to space weather needs to be a national priority.


Space weather is also very important in our Mars exploration and settlement ambitions. “Deep-space and long-duration missions, where both crew members and spacecraft no longer benefit from the protection of Earth’s magnetic fields, are considered high risk for adverse radiation impacts,” says NASA. Long term exposure of astronauts to radiation is problematic and the effect that space radiation has on spacecraft electronics and software is equally challenging. Radiation and Space Weather are also critical technologies for NASA’s MARS plans. In its report titled “Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration,” the space agency lays out a three-stage program for developing the technology and logistics necessary to reach Mars and establish a sustainable colony on the planet’s surface.


Natural space weather degradations

The Sun is a typical G2 type star—a ball of hot plasma about 865 000 miles in diameter (100 times as big as earth). It is rotating, but instead of rotating like a solid body, it differentially rotates—the rotation period is ∼25 days at the equator and ∼30 days at the poles (average ∼27 days). It has a magnetic field caused by the dynamo effect. The differential rotation of the plasma (to which the magnetic field lines are attached) twists and untwists the magnetic field lines making the magnetic field increase and decay and change sign every 11 years (the sunspot cycle).


When the field is most twisted, it breaks through the visible surface, causing sunspots, flares, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). This is called solar maximum (solar max for short), the time of greatest solar activity. When the field is smooth, there are few or no sunspots, and the solar activity is at a minimum (solar minimum or solar min). The earth’s space environment is modified by the outflowing solar wind on a timescale of minutes to weeks by solar activity and by immediate fluxes of X-rays and high energy particles emitted by the Sun and the emitted plasma. This is called space weather.


At the start of the 20th century, renowned Russian scientist Alexander Chizhevsky that solar wind constantly flows from the solar corona, the atmosphere of the sun. This wind is a stream of charged particles that blows toward the Earth and other planets of the solar system. The solar wind carries the energy of the sun, and stretches and carries the solar magnetic field into outer space. As a result, the entire solar system is affected by the solar wind and the solar magnetic field. And since the sun rotates, the magnetic field in the interplanetary space takes the form of wavy spiral folds, like a ballerina’s skirt. The Earth and all the planets of the solar system exist within these folds.


Solar flare” means a brief eruption of intense energy on or near the Sun’s surface that is typically associated with sunspots.”Solar energetic particles” means ions and electrons ejected from the Sun that are typically associated with solar eruptions. “Geomagnetic disturbance” means a temporary disturbance of Earth’s magnetic field resulting from solar activity.


Solar flares emit copious radio waves, X-rays, and relativistic electrons and protons. The X-rays reach earth and ionize some of the upper atmosphere in only 8 min—there is no warning, since we see the flare by light and radio waves that arrive at the same time as the X-rays. Next to arrive are the relativistic protons [solar energetic particles (SEPs)] which can reach earth in about another 10 min. When solar flares erupt, they can also eject large blobs of magnetized plasma called CMEs traveling at speeds upward of 2×106 km/h. This means that they can hit earth within two to four days. CMEs are very directional, and most miss earth entirely. Those that hit can distort the magnetosphere, but to get in they must be funneled down through the polar regions or enter by magnetic field line reconnection. The extra plasma load can stretch the magnetosphere back out away from the sun, and when the magnetic field lines break, they snap back, accelerating electrons and protons to energies as high as 80 000 eV. This is called a geomagnetic storm.


HAND threat

Space weather also gets degraded on event of High Altitude Nuclear Detonation or Explosion (HAND or HANE). HANE produce energetic gamma rays (about 5% of yield) move at the speed of light and interact (Compton Effect) with neutral particles in the upper atmosphere producing energetic electrons and ions. These electrons and charged particles gyrate and get trapped around the earth’s magnetic field. Energetic radiation belt produced by HAND is proved to be responsible in shortening operational life time of LEO satellites. Even small HANDs (~10-20 Kt at 125-300 Km altitude) is expected to raise peak radiation flux about 3-4 orders of magnitude in the inner radiation belts and lead to the loss of 90% LEO satellites within a month.


China should bolster its defences so that critical infrastructure could withstand potential future electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks that can wipe out power grids and communication, according to a Chinese military nuclear research institute. The United States is vulnerable to damage caused by extremely powerful electromagnetic pulses, but by 2032 it will have built up the capability to protect its vital infrastructure from such an attack, according to the Chinese researchers’ assessment, based on their analysis of recent US government and military documents. That could tip the strategic balance among world powers, requiring China and Russia to step up their defences to guard against a potential US attack, they said.


Space Degradation Impacts

Extreme space weather events — those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure — could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation. Space weather has the potential to simultaneously affect and disrupt health and safety across entire continents.


Strong electrical currents driven along the Earth’s surface during auroral events disrupt electric power grids and contribute to the corrosion of oil and gas pipelines. Changes in the ionosphere during geomagnetic storms interfere with high-frequency radio communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation. During polar cap absorption events caused by solar protons, radio communications can be compromised for commercial airliners on transpolar crossing routes.


In order of their immediacy of effect, these may be caused by the following solar interactions.

1) Flares: Flares have an immediate impact on HF radio communications due to ionization in the D layer in earth’s ionosphere by prompt X-rays. Flares may also produce a long-term impact by heating the upper atmosphere by large fluxes of UV-Extreme UltraViolet radiation and this increases atmospheric drag on orbiting satellites.

2) The Radio bursts that often accompany flares can knock out GPS navigation systems and interfere with communications and radar. One example is the large event of December 6, 2006 which occurred after the impulsive phase of a flare. It knocked out GPS for 20 min and affected cell phone reception. This is a definite issue for the increased use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and for aircraft landing. Flare prediction is an active area, helped by our new ability to sense far-side activity with the NASA Stereo spacecraft and helioseismology.

3) SEPs are protons with energies up to 1 GeV that pose a radiation hazard for astronauts and polar flights, can affect satellite electronics, and affect polar cap absorption in the ionosphere. They can come from flares or CMEs, and can arrive within 10 min of a flare. v × B forces in the geomagnetic field control the entry of SEPs, and in LEO they are more important at the earth’s magnetic poles than at the equator. The largest events (ground level enhancements) are seen by neutron monitors; high-energy protons produce neutrons by nuclear
interactions in the atmosphere and can reach detectors on the ground. SEPs may produce SEUs and MCP saturation, and their prediction is similar to the case of flares, but not all large flares produce SEPs.


4) CMEs are large eruptions of mass moving outward from the Sun at ∼1000 km/s, generally associated with flares, that take two to four days to arrive at earth and can generate magnetospheric storms. To predict the severity of CMEs, one needs to know whether they will strike earth and what the magnetic field orientation is. Southerly magnetic fields provide more compression of the earth’s magnetic field, and compression of the magnetosphere can affect power systems, radiation belts, and ionospheric communication conditions. They
may also be progenitors for SEPs .



A. Impacts on Earth

1) Power grid outages—due to high voltages induced on long power lines by rapid changes in earth’s magnetic field (Dst very high) and the tightly woven power grid. A good example is March 13, 1989 (cycle 22)—the collapse of Hydro-Québec power grid, putting six million people without power.

2) Transportation disruptions—due to navigation and switching problems. A good example is May 13, 1921 (cycle 15)—the New York Central Railroad was put out of operation due to electrical fires from overstressed electrical transformers. Transpolar flights may be cancelled or rerouted due to space weather radiation fluxes that do not usually reach earth because they are stopped in the atmosphere. And, instrument landings may be curtailed due to GPS outages from scintillation or GPS malfunctions due to high solar radiation fluxes.

3) Communications and radar disruptions. The following are good examples.
a) September 1 and 2, 1859 (cycle 10)—telegraph outages, fires (the Carrington event). Largest known historical event.
b) May 13, 1921 (cycle 15)—telephone, telegraph, and cable outages. Since the voltages developed depend mainly on the long runs of conductors involved, the same types of outages would occur today.
c) August 2, 1972 (cycle 20)—telephone outages, components damaged in Canadian overseas cable service.
d) November 4, 2003 (cycle 23)—radio blackout.
e) Cell phone, GPS, and radar reception may also be compromised.

4) Aurorae.

Examples are as follows.
a) December 21, 1806 (cycle 5)—first known association of aurorae with magnetic storm.
b) September 1 and 2, 1859 (cycle 10)—aurorae seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii.
c) May 13, 1921 (cycle 15)—aurorae at zenith in Pasadena, California.
d) August 2, 1972 (cycle 20)—seen from Illinois to Colorado.
e) March 13, 1989 (cycle 22)—seen as far south as Texas.

B. Impacts on Satellites

The Van Allen belts, named after their discoverer, are regions within the magnetosphere where high-energy protons and electrons are trapped by Earth’s magnetic field. Scientists study the radiation belts because radiation can damage spacecraft electronics, especially when the sun occasionally burps clouds of particles toward the Earth. If scientists can get a better handle on how the belts change and predict it, it will be easier for engineers to design spacecraft that can withstand that environment. The researchers can use those measurements to get a better understanding of space weather phenomena in the region surrounding the Earth.  Extreme space weather storms can create intense radiation in the Van Allen belts and drive electrical currents which can damage terrestrial electrical power grids. Earth could then be at risk for up to trillions of dollars of damage.


Solar energetic particles indirectly generate charge in semiconductor materials, causing electronic equipment to malfunction. Exposure of spacecraft to energetic particles during solar energetic particle events and radiation belt enhancements cause temporary operational anomalies, damage critical electronics, degrade solar arrays, and blind optical systems such as imagers and star trackers.


Why are satellite disruptions (anomalies) important? It is because satellites are the basis of our technological civilization:
1) communications [TV, telephones (land and mobile)—communication satellites];
2) timekeeping (GPS);
3) navigation (GPS);
4) transportation (air traffic control—GPS, train and truck tracking—GPS);
5) agriculture (planting and harvesting—GPS);
6) wildlife management (GPS);
7) earthquake, volcano, weather, and climate monitoring (GPS);
8) defense (surveillance and other intelligence, weapons guidance).

What satellite systems can be affected? All satellite systems, including the following:
1) power (solar arrays and batteries);
2) payload;
3) telemetry (including high-power communications);
4) position and attitude control;
5) propulsion

Causes and Effects of Space Weather-Produced Anomalies

Scintillation occurs mainly at night during both quiet and active times, and its intensity depends on F10.7. Its impacts on systems include reducing or eliminating satellite and HF communication options. Real-time targeting depends on instant communication, which is compromised when scintillation is severe. Higher bandwidth systems have increased vulnerability. High fluxes of X-rays and SEPs can lead to loss of communications at high latitudes from polar cap absorption events. And, radio bursts directly interfere with GPS, communications, and radar


Ionosphere disturbances degrade GPS systems. This can have severe impacts on Department of Defense (DoD) systems which rely on a multitude of GPS receivers. Reducing collateral damage depends on accurate precision-guided munitions, and this depends on accurate GPS fixes.


In general, geomagnetic storms produce degraded geolocation and a loss of accuracy in electron density profiles and TEC. Large gradients in electron density profiles cause geolocation errors. In consequence, surveillance and intelligence applications become difficult. There may be false returns, false targeting, blinding surveillance radars, and multiple HF systems. Satellite communications are also impacted due to signal interference and loss.


Usually, failures of satellite systems to perform or operate properly are called anomalies. There are two major sources of satellite anomalies, surface charging and deep-dielectric charging. Surface charging may produce electrostatic discharges (ESDs) and arcing on solar arrays and power cables, and these may reach sensitive spacecraft electronics by radiation or conduction into nearby cables. Surface charging is typically caused by electrons of 5–50 keV energies in GEO, 2–20 keV in Polar Earth Orbit (PEO), or high voltage arrays in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).


Deep dielectric charging may produce arcing internally to spacecraft. It is caused by the total dose of electrons of >200 eV–2 MeV energies, or protons of >30 MeV energy, or prompt SEPs or X-rays (usually of very high energies), which can pass through spacecraft surface or shielding materials. Interior electronic upsets called single event upsets (SEUs) are caused by the ionization trail of single high-energy particles and ionizing radiation in sensitive electronics.


The types of effects caused by surface or deep-dielectric discharges include transient effects (SEUs that can cause bit flips in electronics, or ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI)- produced spurious commands, or software upsets) or more permanent damage [microchannel plate (MCP) burnouts, arcs, and ESDs that may damage electronics, and/or cause power cabling or solar array failure]. While more rare than transient effects, their permanent nature makes these types of effects devastating to satellite operation.


The timely forecasting of space weather is of great importance for the aviation industry and the protection of a number of ground-based technical systems, as well as for manned space flights and the launching of scientific and commercial satellites.


US Space  Weather Policy to deal with extreme space weather

Space weather is a global issue. Unlike terrestrial weather events (e.g., a hurricane), space weather has the potential to simultaneously affect the whole of North America or reach even wider geographic regions of the planet. Successfully preparing for space weather events is an all-of-nation endeavor that requires partnerships across governments, emergency managers, academia, the media, the insurance industry, non-profits, and the private sector. It is the policy of the United States to prepare for space weather events to minimize the extent of economic loss and human hardship.


The Federal Government must have (1) the capability to predict and detect a space weather event, (2) the plans and programs necessary to alert the public and private sectors to enable mitigating actions for an impending space weather event, (3) the protection and mitigation plans, protocols, and standards required to reduce risks to critical infrastructure prior to and during a credible threat, and (4) the ability to respond to and recover from the effects of space weather. Executive departments and agencies (agencies) must coordinate their efforts to prepare for the effects of space weather events.


The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shall:

(i) implement and support a national research program to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth and the solar system to advance space weather modeling and prediction capabilities applicable to space weather forecasting;

(ii) develop and operate space-weather-related research missions, instrument capabilities, and models; and

(iii) support the transition of space weather models and technology from research to operations and from operations to research.


The Secretary of Defense shall ensure the timely provision of operational space weather observations, analyses, forecasts, and other products to support the mission of the Department of Defense and coalition partners, including the provision of alerts and warnings for space weather phenomena that may affect weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States


Strategic Goals

National Space Weather Strategy defines six strategic goals to prepare the Nation for near- and long-term space-weather impacts. The goals aim to improve the Nation’s preparedness for, forecasting of, and understanding of space-weather events, encompassing efforts related both to the phenomena that cause space weather and the effects of these phenomena.


The six high-level goals for Federal research, development, deployment, operations, coordination, and engagement are:

  1. Establish Benchmarks for Space-Weather Events
  2. Enhance Response and Recovery Capabilities
  3. Improve Protection and Mitigation Efforts
  4. Improve Assessment, Modeling, and Prediction of Impacts on Critical Infrastructure
  5. Improve Space-Weather Services through Advancing Understanding and Forecasting
  6. Increase International Cooperation


USAF Thrust on Space Weather

In a recent analysis of alternatives, the Air Force ranked the ability to monitor charged particles from space as its 11th highest weather priority and said the capability will be needed by 2021.


The Energetic Charged Particle sensor will monitor space radiation, to determine threats to earth and space systems due to space weather degradation. Earlier this year, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James mandated that all new satellite programs plan to include the Energetic Charged Particle sensor, prototypes of which are expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2018, the report said. Data from those sensors would feed into the Joint Space Operations Center, the Defense Department’s nerve center for military space operations.


The report also highlights a $60 million Air Force program that will use ground radars to detect changes in the ionosphere. The Air Force Weather group’s Next Generation Ionosonde consists of three ground-based radars whose installation is underway and expected to be complete by 2022.


Space Weather Sensors

Scientists utilize a variety of ground- and space-based sensors and imaging systems to view activity at various depths in the solar atmosphere. Telescopes are used to detect visible light, ultraviolet light, gamma rays, and X rays. They use receivers and transmitters that detect the radio shock waves created when a CME crashes into the solar wind and produces a shock wave. Particle detectors to count ions and electrons, magnetometers record changes in magnetic fields, and UV and visible cameras observe auroral patterns above the Earth.


NASA operates a system observatory of Heliophysics missions, utilizing the entire fleet of solar, heliospheric, and geospace spacecraft to discover the processes at work throughout the space environment.


Beyond NASA, interagency coordination in space weather activities has been formalized through the Committee on Space Weather, which is hosted by the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology. This multiagency organization is co-chaired by representatives from NASA, NOAA, DoD, and NSF and functions as a steering group responsible for tracking the progress of the National Space Weather Program.


A Japanese spacecraft designed to help scientists better understand the radiation environment of near-Earth space has made it to orbit. The Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace satellite, or ERG, lifted off atop an Epsilon rocket from Uchinoura Space Center in southern Japan  on Dec. 20.  The 780-lb. (355 kilograms) ERG satellite  has a highly elliptical orbit, getting as close to Earth as 215 miles (350 kilometers) and as far away as 18,640 miles (30,000 km). This path will take the  through the Van Allen radiation belts, where the planet’s magnetic field has trapped huge numbers of fast-moving electrons and other particles.


ERG’s purpose “is to reveal how these high-energy electrons are accelerated and created, and how space storms develop,” JAXA officials wrote in an ERG fact sheet. “ERG will make a comprehensive observation of the electrons and ions near the equatorial plane in geospace, which is thought to be the area where the acceleration of such electrons is occurring.”The satellite will use nine different instruments to do this work, over the course of a mission designed to last at least one year.



New research aims to forecast ‘extreme space weather’

Coronal Mass Ejections are among the most energetic eruptive phenomena in our solar system and the main source of major space weather events. Huge clouds of plasma and magnetic flux are ejected from the atmosphere of the Sun into the surrounding space with speeds ranging from 100 to 3500 km/s. These gigantic solar plasma clouds and the accompanying powerful shock waves can reach our planet in less than a day, causing severe geomagnetic storms posing hazards to astronauts and technology in space and on Earth. One of the strongest Space Weather events occurred in 1859 when the induced geomagnetic storm collapsed the whole telegraph system in North America and Europe, the main means of communication for business and personal contacts in those days. If such an event occurs today, then modern devices are in no way protected. We may find ourselves without electricity, television, the Internet, radio communications which would lead to significant and cascading effects in many areas of our life. Only a few years ago, in July 2012, an outburst of energy comparable to the event in the 19th century occurred on the Sun, but we were lucky because these outbursts did not touch the Earth. According to some experts, the damage from such an extreme event could cost up to several trillion dollars and the restoration of infrastructure and the economy could take up to 10 years. Thus, understanding and forecasting of the most hazardous extreme events is of prime importance for the protection of the society and technology against the global hazards of Space Weather.


Scientists at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), together with colleagues from the Karl-Franzens University of Graz & the Kanzelhöhe Observatory (Austria), Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology (USA), Helioresearch (USA) and Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia) developed a method to study fast Coronal Mass Ejections, powerful ejections of magnetized matter from the outer atmosphere of the Sun. The results can help to better understand and predict the most extreme space weather events and their potential to cause strong geomagnetic storms that directly affect the operation of engineering systems in space and on Earth. The results of the study are published in the Astrophysical Journal.


The current research resulted from an earlier work of Dr. Alexander Ruzmaikin, a former Ph.D. student of Academician Yakov Zeldovich and Dr. Joan Feynman, who has made important contributions to the study of Sun-Earth relations, the solar wind and its impact on the Earth magnetosphere, and who is the younger sister of Nobel Prize laureate Richard Feynman. In the current study, it was shown that the strongest and most intense geomagnetic storms are driven by fast Coronal Mass Ejections interacting in the interplanetary space with another Coronal Mass Ejection. Such interplanetary interactions among Coronal Mass Ejections occur in particular when they are launched in sequence one after another from the same active region. This type of ejection can be characterized using the concept of clusters that also generates an enhanced particle acceleration compared to the isolated plasma cloud. In general, the detection of clusters has important applications in many other extreme geophysical events such as floods and major earthquakes, as well as in interdisciplinary areas (hydrology, telecommunications, finance, and environmental studies).


“Understanding the characteristics of extreme solar eruptions and extreme space weather events can help us better understand the dynamics and variability of the Sun as well as the physical mechanisms behind these events,” says a research scientist of the Skoltech Space Center and the first author of the study, Dr. Jenny Marcela Rodríguez Gómez.


The results of a new study, described this week in the Astrophysical Journal, look at the main cause of dramatic space weather events: fast coronal mass ejections (CME). CMEs are huge flares of magnetized material that periodically shoot out into space from the outer atmosphere of the Sun at speeds of up to 3,500 kilometres per second.

These clouds of plasma and magnetic energy aren’t just an interesting space phenomenon. They have the potential to cause huge geomagnetic storms, which can pose a danger to not only astronauts in space, but also to technology and communications on Earth. This new study, which looked at two solar cycles, found that the “strongest and most intense geomagnetic storms” occurred when fast CMEs interacted with at least one other CME in clusters, and occurred in sequence from the same active region of the Sun.


The study itself suggested that this “may be related to CME-CME interaction producing a more complex and stronger interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere.” “Understanding the characteristics of extreme solar eruptions and extreme space weather events can help us better understand the dynamics and variability of the Sun as well as the physical mechanisms behind these events,” Dr. Jenny Marcela Rodríguez Gómez, a scientist at the Skoltech Space Center and one of the authors of the study, said in a news release.


An animation visualizing two space weather events from 2017 shows large white plumes, representing the CMEs, exploding out into space from the surface of the Sun in lightning-quick bursts. This specific event forced astronauts on the International Space Station to move to a special shelter within the station to protect themselves from the radiation emitted by the solar flare. The news release on the study explained that one of the largest space weather events to have occurred in our solar system was in 1859, when a geomagnetic storm crashed the entire telegraph system in North America and Europe, which was the predominant form of communication across distances at that time.


“If such an event occurs today, then modern devices are in no way protected,” the release stated. “We may find ourselves without electricity, television, Internet, radio communications which would lead to significant and cascading effects in many areas of our life.” Solar activity has a cycle to it. At the peak of the cycle, there may be a higher number of solar flares and CME activity occurring, but during the descending phase of a cycle, energy can accumulate before being released in more extreme, one-off space weather cluster events, the press release said.


Although we are currently entering a new, 11-year cycle of solar activity that scientists predict will be mild, there still could be extreme solar events in the second half of the cycle. “Therefore, our modern technological society needs take this seriously, study extreme space weather events, and also understand all the subtleties of the interactions between the Sun and the Earth,” Tatiana Podladchikova, assistant professor at the Skoltech Space Center and research co-author, said in the press release. “And whatever storms may rage, we wish everyone […] good weather in space.”


References and Resources also include:






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