And Digital look It has recently been revealed that the increased “drag effect” of solar storms may accelerate the fall of some satellites in the fall. However, this is not the only consequence that this phenomenon can bring to objects in orbit, experts are concerned about the high risk of satellites colliding with each other or even with debris.
The United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN) currently monitors about 20,000 objects in low Earth orbit (a region of space at an altitude of 1,000 km). Some of these items are operational satellites, but most are non-operational spacecraft, rocket parts, and debris generated during collisions.
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SSN experts use radar to monitor and track the position of these objects and project their trajectory into the future. When two objects, such as space debris and a satellite, come dangerously close to each other, a satellite operator receives an alert. In some cases, they perform maneuvers to avoid falls or collisions.
However, there are unpredictable situations, as it is not always possible to be sure of the position of these objects, and this unpredictability increases during solar storms.
Gases present in the Earth’s thermosphere (the upper layer of the atmosphere, located between 100 and 600 km) are evolved. At this height, they interact with particles emitted by the Sun, via coronal mass ejections (CMEs), i.e. large bursts of magnetized plasma from the solar atmosphere. These interactions drag the denser gases, which are at lower altitudes, to where the satellites are. This sudden change creates a strong drag, which changes the motion of these objects and pulls them towards Earth.
In a statement to Space.com, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) program coordinator Bill Murtaugh said that “when we get a very large event and we see a strong warming of the atmosphere [superior]The satellites will not be where they should be.”
Fortunately, however, these super-strong solar storms don’t happen very often.
One of the biggest concerns among experts is the increasing number of satellites and space junk orbiting the planet today. In fact, the next major solar storm could disrupt Earth’s atmosphere for weeks.