Satellite images show what the historic geomagnetic storm looked like from space

Solar storms disrupt agricultural technology and planting activities


Solar storms disrupt agricultural technology and planting activities

00:28

MINNEAPOLIS — Millions of Americans looked up at the night sky this weekend and took magical photos and videos of the Northern Lights the momentous geomagnetic storm.

But cameras were also pointed at the storm from space, capturing fantastic monochromatic images of the sun's electromagnetic radiation.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) has been released eight satellite images of the storm on Tuesday, photographed by the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) fleet early Saturday.

noaa20-viirs-dynamic-dnb-20240511-0658-1.png

NOAA


The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says its five JPSS satellites provide most of the data used in weather forecasting in the US, orbiting from pole to pole and around the equator more than ten times a day. circling the earth. The fleet first entered orbit in 2011 and is expected to remain functional until 2030.

This was the strongest geomagnetic storm which has been impacting Earth since October 2003, categorized as a G5 – the highest level on NOAA's scale.

noaa21-viirs-dynamic-dnb-20240511-0745-1024x1024.png

NOAA


This storm not only produces breathtaking aurora borealis, but also solar flares affected some power grids, GPS and communications satellites. The storm also disrupted some agricultural equipment navigation systems in the Midwest and other parts of the country during the peak of the planting season.

“I've never had to deal with anything like this,” says Minnesota farmer Patrick O'Connor told the New York Times.

Solar winds spewed from the sun traveling at speeds between 250 and 500 miles per second in swirling spirals due to the star's rotation.

noaa20-viirs-dynamic-dnb-20240511-0838.png

NOAA


It can take up to 90 hours for the wind to reach Earth, which is 93 million miles away. The enormous distance and variable speed that solar energy travels make auroral forecasts as accurate as meteorological forecasts from the 1950s.

NASA officials say that auroras are caused by electrically charged particles in solar winds colliding with Earth's atmosphere.

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