The storm is expected to hit Earth on Monday, March 28. A solar storm is a disturbance of falling particles caused by electromagnetic explosions from the sun.
NASA expects the solar storm to arrive around midnight GMT Monday.
However, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes it will arrive eighteen hours early, around 6 a.m.
When the solar wind hits the Earth’s magnetic field, its interaction causes the atmosphere to glow.
This is known as the aurora borealis, or aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere.
Dr. Tamitha Skov — known as the “space weather woman” because of her online celestial predictions — predicts high-frequency radio reception and problems anywhere on Earth when a solar storm hits.
She added that forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “indicate a faster solar storm that will hit more.”
Skov said the effects “can reach mid-latitudes” on the planet’s surface.
Asked where skywatchers might see the aurora borealis from a storm, she suggested that people in rural New York could see them, but someone as far south as Utah could not.
New York lies below the UK, so there’s a chance an eagle-eyed Briton will be able to shine a light.
In the Southern Hemisphere, Skov said residents of southern New Zealand and Tasmania can see the Northern Lights “as long as it’s dark enough” and the storm hits overnight.
However, those who live in Australian cities like Victoria and Perth may not be so lucky.
This is because the solar particles that hit the Earth during the storm are “polar deflected” by the Earth’s magnetic field.
Billy Tates, an astronomer at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, explained that the deposits of energy this produces cause the atmosphere around the poles to glow.
As beautiful as the spectacle for some, solar storms can have detrimental effects on the planet’s logistics and navigation systems.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns: “While storms create beautiful auroras, they can also disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic currents (GICs) in the electrical grid and channels.”
Large solar storms, in the form of coronal mass ejections, can have devastating effects on Earth and human infrastructure.
The Carrington event of 1859 is the deadliest geomagnetic storm so far recorded, which saw the aurora borealis as far south as the Caribbean, but telegraph lines failed across America.
The researchers believe that if the Carrington event had occurred today, it would have caused widespread electrical disturbances, blackouts, and damage to the electrical grid.
Similar storms were recorded in the following years. In February, a small magnetic storm destroyed 40 satellites of SpaceX Starlink.
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