KEY POINTS

  • Solar winds are expected to hit Earth this week
  • The approaching solar winds will create auroras
  • Cracks are forming on Earth's magnetosphere 

Earth is about to get hit by solar winds on the first day of spring according to a site that reports space weather forecasts. The effects of the approaching solar winds are expected to be prominent due to cracks currently forming on Earth’s magnetosphere.

This year’s equinox, which marks the first day of spring, is expected to happen on March 19. During this time, Earth will face the Sun without a tilted axis. This means the Sun’s rays will hit Earth at a perfectly perpendicular angle.

Aside from the Sun’s rays hitting at a unique angle, Earth will also get bombarded by minor streams of solar wind from the giant star on the first day of spring. According to forecasting site SpaceWeather.com, the approaching solar winds came from a hole that recently opened on the Sun’s surface.

Fortunately, the site noted that the incoming solar winds are only minor, which means they most likely won’t cause electrical disruptions on Earth. But, they are expected to create beautiful auroras in the sky.

“A minor stream of solar wind is due to hit Earth's magnetic field on March 19th, possibly causing auroras around the Arctic Circle,” the site stated. “The gaseous material is flowing from a newly-opened hole in the sun's atmosphere.”

The auroras that will be created by the solar winds this week might appear more prominent due to the cracks appearing on Earth’s magnetosphere. Although it sounds terrifying, cracks forming in the magnetosphere happen naturally due to a seasonal phenomenon.

According to SpaceWeather.com, this phenomenon usually occurs during the weeks leading up to the equinox. The phenomenon is known as the Russell-McPherron effect, which was named after the astrophysicist who first published a study about it in 1973.

“During weeks around equinoxes, cracks form in our planet's magnetosphere,” the site stated. “Solar wind slips through the gaps, igniting auroras.”

“This seasonal phenomenon is called the ‘Russell-McPherron effect’ after the space physicists who first described it,” the site added. “Around the beginning of spring, the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) can link up with Earth's own magnetic field, prying open cracks.”

Solar Storms Expected to Disrupt Earth for Next Decade The eruption of the sun on Sunday and Monday with an M8.7 class flare, causing the biggest solar radiation storm since 2003, has revived apprehensions of stronger solar flares in the near future. Photo: REUTERS