Solar Storm to Hit Earth. Will We See the Aurora Borealis?

Joann Johnston
March 14, 2018

The red bars, which barely reach the G1 "minor storm" level, was misinterpreted as a major event.

Weather Network says that the effects of the storm will be pretty minimal.

"The storm is impressive by recent standards, but nowhere near the maximum intensities often generated at the height of the solar cycle".

The magnetic storm was created last week by an explosion in the Sun's atmosphere known as a solar flare, which caused charged particles from the flare to make their way to Earth. As Newsweek further noted, his comments came shortly after most publications who wrote on Monday about the purported storm had apparently misinterpreted a chart from the Lebedev Institute in Russian Federation that suggested the likelihood of increased geomagnetic activity on March 18, but nothing hinting at a major storm.

'A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth, ' said the Space Weather Prediction Center.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a minor geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for March 14 and 15. The category rises from G1 to G5 with the increase in the intensity of the geomagnetic storms.

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And if you're far enough north, or perhaps in Antarctica (hi there!), you may get to feast your eyes on the aurora as the charged particles channelled towards the poles by Earth's magnetic field interact with the ionosphere.

The SWPC says that the northern lights could be seen as far south as ME and MI thanks to the stream of charged particles heading our way.

At their most extreme, geomagnetic storms have been known to cripple satellites and cause massive blackouts.

In March 1989, a powerful geomagnetic storm set off a blackout in Canada that left six million people without electricity for nine hours.

It can disrupt technology such as power grids and communication satellites.

Though NOAA's Rutledge stressed in his statement that things should be fine on March 18, Newsweek noted that serious geomagnetic storms could indeed cause chaos should they hit our planet. The upcoming storm will put quite a show for stargazers around the world who can assemble at a ideal spot to watch the auroral lights and other natural phenomena that follows.

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