Fears of disruption: A solar storm heading for the Earth this week

    This solar storm, which is on course to make a “direct hit” on Earth on April 14, is likely to strengthen, causing satellite disruptions as well as electrical grid fluctuations.

    According to NASA and NOAA projection models, a solar storm will strike the Earth’s magnetic field in two days and then “intensify.”

    ”Direct hit – solar storm prediction models from both NOAA and NASA show,” according to Space weather physicist Tamitha Skov, “the storm hits April 14, just ahead of a fast solar wind stream.”

    “This should intensify the storm as the stream will give it a push from behind!“

    She explained today: “Chances of reaching G2-level conditions are 80 percent at high latitudes and 20 percent at mid-latitudes.

    “Radio blackout risk remains low, but amateur #radio operators and GPS users face disruptions on Earth’s nightside.”

    When geomagnetic storms collide with the Earth’s magnetic field, they have been known to create radio blackouts and, if they strike transformers directly, power shortages.

    A G2-class geomagnetic storm is expected as a result of the coronal mass ejection (CME), according to NASA.

    CME is a huge burst of plasma from the Sun’s corona (outer layer).

    Billions of tonnes of fast-moving solar particles, as well as the magnetic field that holds them together, make up CMEs.

    When these come into touch with the Earth’s magnetic field, they can generate geomagnetic storms.

    Geomagnetic storms occur when energy from the solar wind is efficiently transferred to the Earth’s space environment.

    Solar storms are classified by the US Space Weather Center (SWPC) on a range of “G1 Minor” to “G5 Extreme,” with “G1 Minor” being the least intense.

    Even the tiniest storms, though, can cause “power-grid fluctuations” and a “minor impact on satellite operations.”

    It starts to grow riskier at the stronger end of the scale.

    If CMEs hit Earth’s magnetosphere, “all of that extra radiation can damage the satellites we use for communications and navigation, it can disrupt power grids that provide our electricity”.

    It is also projected that the impending storms would produce auroras, such as the famous Northern Lights.

    If the sky is clear, the aurora borealis may be observed in far northern England and Northern Ireland.

    You could be able to see it in the nights from Sunday to Tuesday, according to the Met Office.

    Ms. Skov said: “Aurora field reporters, be sure to charge your camera batteries!”

    She added: “The NASA solar storm prediction model shows the hit occurring a little later on April 14 at 12pm UTC time compared to the NOAA model, which shows the arrival a bit earlier at 7am UTC time!

    “Either way, both indicate an excellent chance for aurora!”

    This comes after the Earth’s atmosphere was hit by a G3 geomagnetic storm earlier this week.

    The storm was classified as a big storm because it began on Sunday and was still felt yesterday.

    Experts have frequently cautioned that the Earth is unprepared for the possible devastation that a G5 storm could unleash.

    Image Credit: Getty

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