Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 24 May 2024 4.22 AM IST

Solar storm with impact on nine satellites; energy flow passes over Thiruvananthapuram as well


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The solar storm that hit the Earth did not affect India but shook the orbits of nine ISRO satellites. On May 10 and 11, the orbits of the low-orbit satellites changed from 30 to 200 meters. ISRO has addressed the impact this has had on the operation of satellites, communications with Earth and services. The solar storm reached Earth strongly between May 10 and 12. The massive coronal mass ejection from the outburst of the sunspot AR13664 was slamming into the Earth's magnetic field.

The solar storm that hit the Americas and the Pacific region, did not affect India much. This is because India's location is at a low longitude opposite to the part of the Sun where the coronal mass ejection occurred. The solar storm occurred before dawn in India. During this time, the ionosphere, the outer atmosphere of the Earth, was not active. The electron flow here becomes active when the sun comes up, and that's when solar storms make an impact.

However, the solar storm increased the heat from the sun, which increased the volume of the Earth's atmosphere. This caused a change in the magnetic field of attraction. This is what shook the satellites. India has 30 satellites. Among these, low-orbit satellites such as Cartosat 2S, Cartosat 3, RISAT-2B, EO4, Cartosat 2B, EO6, XO1, R2A and Microsat 2B were affected.

The changes caused by the solar storm were evaluated at ISRO's ground stations, the National Atmospheric Research Station in Andhra Pradesh and the Atmospheric Observatory in Thumba, Thiruvananthapuram. It has been found that the energy flow passed over Thiruvananthapuram. There was a 50% variation in magnetic flux during the night of 10th and 10% variation during the day of 11th in Indian atmosphere.

ISRO's Aditya L1 and Chandrayaan 2 probes also assessed the solar storm. Instruments on Aditya measured the solar storm's speed, temperature, density of alpha particles, and changes in proton particles. Energy variations in seven levels were also detected. Chandrayaan 2 captured the massive rings of fire of the solar storm.

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