Space weather experts have warned a cannibal coronal mass ejection (CME) could be heading towards the Earth. One of the most powerful forms of a solar storm, a CME occurs when the Sun belches out a cloud of charged particles and electromagnetic fluctuations. When a number of the solar eruptions are released in a short duration and in the same direction, the faster of these flares could overtake and swallow up the slower to form a larger one known as a cannibal CME.
The next day, another exploding magnetic filament launched another CME right behind.
According to forecast models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), both CMEs will reach the Earth together on August 18.
Experts at spaceweather.com wrote: “This could be a ‘Cannibal CME’ event.
“In other words, the second CME might overtake and gobble up the first, creating a mish-mash of the two.
Solar storm horror: Earth facing ‘cannibal’ Sun eruptions amidst ‘radiation storm’ risk
A cannibal CME occurs when one flare swallows up another
“Cannibal CMEs contain tangled magnetic fields and compressed plasmas that can spark strong geomagnetic storms.
“In this case, NOAA forecasters expect G1 (minor) to G2-class (moderate) geomagnetic storms.
“During such storms naked-eye auroras can descend into the USA as far south as New York and Idaho (geomagnetic latitude 55 degrees).”
The Sun is currently at the peak of its 11-year cycle, which is known as the solar maximum.
During this time, more sunspots emerge on its surface and, as a result, the number of space weather events like solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) grows.