KEY POINTS

  • Solar wind escaped from a hole in the Sun's corona
  • Earth might get hit by the solar wind on Sunday or Monday
  • The solar wind might cause geomagnetic unrest

A space weather forecasting site predicted that a stream of solar wind coming from a hole in the Sun’s atmosphere might hit Earth next week. The site noted that the solar event could trigger geomagnetic unrest on the planet.

The approaching solar wind is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sunday or Monday, SpaceWeather.com reported. The solar wind came from a hole that formed on the northern portion of the Sun’s atmosphere, which is known as the corona.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) explained that solar winds contain highly-charged particles that can disrupt the magnetic field of Earth. They appear as plasma flowing from the Sun’s surface.

The SWPC noted that the traveling speed of solar winds depends on the region on the Sun where they came from.

“Coronal holes produce solar wind of high speed, ranging from 500 to 800 kilometers per second,” the agency explained. “The north and south poles of the Sun have large, persistent coronal holes, so high latitudes are filled with fast solar wind. In the equatorial plane, where the Earth and the other planets orbit, the most common state of the solar wind is the slow speed wind, with speeds of about 400 kilometers per second.”

According to SpaceWeather.com, the approaching solar wind could cause various effects on Earth once it hits the planet. The site noted that the cosmic weather could trigger auroras or polar lights over affected areas as the highly-charged particles of the solar wind interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

The site also stated that the solar event could also cause geomagnetic unrest on the planet. Geomagnetic disturbances occur due to the transfer of energy from the solar winds to the magnetic field.

Depending on the magnitude of the geomagnetic unrest or storm, affected areas might experience power outages and issues related to radio and satellite communications.

“While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents in the power grid and pipelines,” the SWPC explained.

coronal hole sun
A giant hole in the topmost layer of the sun is letting off the solar wind causing auroras down on Earth. NASA/SDO
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