Earth’s magnetic field was shattered when solar winds rushed inside the planet’s protective shield and caused a 14-hour geomagnetic storm.
A strange and dangerous event took place in Earth’s magnetosphere on July 7, when an unexpected geomagnetic storm hit the planet and opened up the Earth’s magnetic field, the main shield against all solar radiation and magnetic flux. It turned out that when the crack opened on the magnetosphere, fast-moving solar winds rushed through the Earth’s atmosphere and caused auroras. A similar phenomenon was observed in June but this time it lasted an unusually long period of 14 hours. So how exactly did a crack form in the Earth’s magnetic field and how devastating were its effects? Keep reading to find out.
The event was widely captured by aurora enthusiasts and astronomy enthusiasts who snapped photos of the night sky as a G1-class geomagnetic storm rushed through cracks in Earth’s magnetic field. The geomagnetic storm even managed to reach mid-latitudes, which is usually not possible for a minor G1 storm.
Crack in Earth’s Magnetic Field Causes a Surprise Geomagnetic Storm
It turns out that the phenomenon is neither dangerous nor abnormal. According to SpaceWeather.com, it was caused by a co-rotating interaction region (CIR). A co-rotating interaction region or CIR is the region where two different streams of solar winds collide. As solar winds carry magnetic flux, it expands the Earth’s magnetic field, causing cracks within itself. But what was unusual about this case was that the CIRs didn’t last more than a few hours, but this one stayed on for over 14 hours. It is believed that due to increased solar activity, the speed of solar winds also increases, causing strong CIR effects.
But a question remains. Is it safe? And it turns out it is. These cracks are temporary and as soon as the effect reverses, the magnetic field repairs itself. NASA in a blog post explains it. “We discovered that our magnetic shield is full of drafts, like a house whose window is left open during a storm. The house deflects most of the storm, but the couch is in shambles. Likewise, our magnetic shield takes the brunt of space storms, but some of the energy leaks through its cracks, sometimes enough to cause problems with satellites, radio communications and electrical systems,” Harald Frey said. from the University of California at Berkeley and lead author of an article on the study of this phenomenon.