The storm is expected to hit Earth sometime on Monday, March 28. A solar storm is a disturbance of particles falling off due to the electromagnetic explosions of 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 hit eighteen hours early, around 6 a.m.
When the solar wind hits the Earth’s magnetic field, its interaction causes the atmosphere to shine.
This is known as the aurora borealis, or aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere.
Dr. Tamitha Skov – known as the “Space Weather Woman” for her online celestial forecasts – is predicting high-frequency radio reception and problems on any side of Earth as a solar storm hits.
She added that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts “indicate a faster solar storm that will hit more.”
Dr Skov said the effects “can reach mid-latitudes” on the planet’s surface.
Asked where skywatchers might be able to see the storm’s aurora borealis, she suggested that people in rural New York might be able to spot them, but someone as far south as Utah might not.
New York lies below the UK, so there’s a chance the eagle-eyed Britons could spot the spotlight.
In the Southern Hemisphere, Dr Skov said residents of southern New Zealand and Tasmania might be able to see the aurora borealis “as long as it’s dark enough” and the storm hits during the evening there.
However, those who live in Australian cities such as Victoria and Perth may not be so lucky.
This is because the solar particles that hit the Earth during a storm are “skewed towards the poles” by the Earth’s magnetic field.
Billy Tates, an astronomer at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, explained that the deposits of energy this creates cause the atmosphere to shine around the poles.
Although a beautiful sight for some, solar storms can have detrimental effects on the planet’s logistical and navigational 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 power grid and pipelines.”
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 fail across America.
The researchers believe that if the Carrington event had occurred today, it would have caused widespread electrical disturbances, blackouts, and power grid damage.
Similar storms were recorded in the ensuing years. In February, a small magnetic storm destroyed 40 SpaceX Starlink satellites.
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