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The May solar storm was so strong that we detected it on the sea floor

Coronary mass ejections from the Sun affect Earth’s magnetic field, generating aurora borealis and affecting equipment – ​​and have been detected at depth

Research indicates that the recent solar stormfrom the last month of May – famous for northern Lights that it generated was also felt at the bottom of the sea. The instruments responsible for the survey were the magnetic compasses of the Canadian Oceanic Network (ONC, in its original acronym), which noticed notable distortions in the The Earth’s magnetic field.

In a press release, physicist Justin Albert of the University of Victoria pointed out that 2025 and 2026 will represent the peak of an 11-year cycle of solar activity. Events northern Lights like the recent one, they have not occurred for a decade, and are expected to become more frequent in the coming years, although it is difficult to predict them due to the variability of the Sun.

The new way to identify the effects of coronary expulsionsBy placing compasses on the seabed, it could help scientists better understand the star’s effects on our planet and translate them into benefits for the sciences of geology and geography.

Northern Lights in Canada, in this year's photograph: the effect of the solar storm has passed from the atmosphere to the depths of the Earth (Image: Ralf Rohner)

Solar storms and the Earth’s magnetic field

Also called geomagnetic storms, coronal mass ejections from the Sun launch particles toward Earth. Arriving here, they knock on the magnetic field and weave into it, accelerated until the moment they are thrown into the atmosphere. Once there, they interact with other particles and generate the aurora borealis.

In addition to colored lights, however, these particle interactions generate electrical currents, which can disrupt power grids and cause navigation and communication problems, even radio blackouts. Aircraft and satellites, which are still in near-surface space, are also affected.

The ONC has some observatories on the coasts of both sides of the Canadian continent, reaching depths of up to 2.7 km. Compasses are installed in them to monitor changes in ocean currents, but they ended up detecting them effects of the solar storm — the most affected equipment was located 25 meters below sea level, on the coast of Vancouver, where the compass needle varied between +30º and -30º.

According to Kate Moran, president of the ONC, these data are important for showing the strength of recent solar ejections and very useful for better understanding the scope of geographic effects and the intensity of solar activities.

Source: University of Victoria

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