A massive solar flare is expected to hit Earth today, potentially affecting power grids and causing an aurora in northern latitudes.
Coronal mass ejections originate from the Sun, caused by a massive burst of electrically conductive plasma.
An alert published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) informed that we should expect “weak power grid fluctuations” and satellite “orientation irregularities” that could increase drag on the craft in low Earth orbit.
The agency rates the storm as G2, meaning it is moderately strong. It is expected to arrive around noon and will continue till October 12.
“Aurora is possible through [the] 11th over most of Scotland, although cloud volume is increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely”, the Met Office said, as reported Sky.
“There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but clouds break and are therefore more likely to be seen over Northern Ireland.”
While this storm will be relatively weak, the planet is not prepared for the height of a more powerful superstorm.
On May 15, 1921, due to the strength of the New York Railroad Storm, several fires broke out in electrical and telegraph control rooms in many parts of the world, including the US and UK.
A study has claimed that such storms occur once every 100 years and could plunge the world into an “internet apocalypse”.
“A coronal mass ejection (CME) involves the emission of electrically charged material into space as well as the emission of a magnetic field. When it hits Earth, it interacts with Earth’s magnetic field and is geomagnetically generates induced currents (GICs) on the crust,” said Dr. Sangeeta Abdu Jyothi from the University of California, Irvine and VMware Research.
“In today’s long-distance Internet cables, optical fiber is immune to GICs. But these cables also have electrically driven repeaters at ~100 km intervals that are susceptible to damage.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /