NASA and NOAA are keeping their eyes on the skies, as they worry about ongoing solar activity that could threaten our space-based infrastructure.
The storm was ignited by as massive solar flare that exploded into space some time last week, and initiating a series of storms that are just now reaching our orbit.
A monster solar storm is likely to hit earth tomorrow knocking out satellites, disrupting power supplies and creating stunning displays of the northern lights. https://t.co/oF9mcl5wV5
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) March 13, 2018
The storm couldn’t come at a worse time for the planet, as the Equinoxes are generally the time of year when our magnetic shielding is at its weakest.
However, this also means that amateur stargazers in certain parts of the Northern Hemisphere will have a good chance of spotting some of this sun activity as they watch the sky.
Our first Northern Lights experience happened to be during the recent solar storm. Photo taken by my husband who, after much prodding, still won’t post it himself. Lofoten Islands, Norway pic.twitter.com/Nt757SHUYL
— Earth Porn 🌍 (@redditEarthPrn) March 12, 2018
Solar storm is set to hit Earth TODAY https://t.co/wo6UpNuxVo
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) March 14, 2018
While the storm comes at a bad time of year, the scientists at NASA and NOAA are happy to report that the storms are also relatively minor.
A note of caution though, even though the storms are expected to be “minor,” they could still have some major negative effects on our planet.
The damage caused by solar storms
Solar flares can damage satellites and have an enormous financial cost.
The charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing Earth’s magnetic field.
Very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies.
When Coronal Mass Ejections strike Earth they cause geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora.
They can disrupt radio waves, GPS coordinates and overload electrical systems.
A large influx of energy could flow into high voltage power grids and permanently damage transformers.
This could shut off businesses and homes around the world.
The most likely effects from the storm that folks in the USA might experience are minor power outages and satellite TV and Radio issues.
#Solarstorm & #Aurora 5-day Outlook: Fast #solar wind hits this week! Expect storm levels at high-latitudes. #Aurora may reach northern USA. #Hamradio & #GPS issues on night side. In each table, top row shows what conditions are expected, bottom shows possible maximum activity. pic.twitter.com/hJ38RDYSCL
— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) March 13, 2018