By Dean Murray via SWNS
A massive “doomsday” explosion from the Sun this week could have knocked out the Earth’s Internet.
A massive explosion of solar material, known as a coronal mass ejection or CME, was detected on Monday, March 13, at 3:36 am UK time.
The potentially “catastrophic” CME has been compared to the Carrington Event, the most powerful geomagnetic storm in recorded history, which peaked from September 1 to 2, 1859.
That event kicked off the ‘Internet’ of the time, telephone systems across Europe and North America failed.
In some cases, operators received electric shocks and telegraph pylons threw sparks.
NASA previously said a similar storm today could have a “catastrophic effect on modern power grids and telecommunications networks.”
Thankfully, the new CME was on the other side of the Sun, although NASA said we are yet to hear the effects.
The agency noted: “Although the CME erupted on the other side of the Sun, its impact was felt on Earth.”
They explain that spacecraft orbiting Earth detected solar energy particles (SEPs) from the explosion, meaning the CME was powerful enough to set off a mass of collisions that managed to reach our side of the Sun.
NASA space climate scientists are still studying this event to learn more about how it accomplished this impressive and far-reaching effect.
Astronomer Dr. C. Alex Young, of suntoday.org, commented at the time: “Holy Mackerel! This was a huge and fast event from across the Sun. A very fast and rare CME, 3000 km/s, 6.7 Mega mph.
“Soon if not faster than a faster CME like the famous Carrington event. It could be bigger this cycle but we have to wait.”
Based on an analysis by NASA’s Moon to Mars Space Weather Office, the CME was clocked at an unusual speed of 2,127 kilometers (1,321 miles) per second, earning a speed-based classification of an R (irregular) CME.
This explosion may have hit NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. The spacecraft is currently approaching its 15th approach to the Sun (or perihelion), flying within 5.3 million kilometers (8.5 million miles) of the Sun on March 17.
On March 13, the spacecraft sent a green beacon tone indicating that the spacecraft is in operational mode.
Scientists and engineers are waiting for the next data download from space, which will happen after the closest approach, to learn more about this CME event and any possible effects.
The explosion is known as a halo CME because it appears to spread evenly from the Sun through a halo, or ring, around the Sun.
NASA explains: “Although the CME erupted on the other side of the Sun, its impact was felt on Earth.
“As CMEs explode in space, they create a shockwave that can accelerate particles in the CME’s path to incredible speeds, in the same way that divers are pushed by incoming ocean waves.
These fast particles, known as solar particles, can travel 93 million miles from the Sun to Earth in about 30 minutes.
“Although SEPs are often observed after solar flares facing Earth, they rarely occur on the far side of the Sun. However, spacecraft orbiting Earth detected SEPs from an eruption that began at midnight on March 12 EDT, which means the CME was strong enough. initiating a number of collisions that managed to reach our side of the Sun.”