News World Geomagnetic solar storm on Earth: Everything you need to know
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Geomagnetic solar storm on Earth: Everything you need to know

An extreme solar storm only occurs once every few centuries and could cause long lasting blackouts.
An extreme solar storm only occurs once every few centuries and could cause long lasting blackouts. Photo: Getty
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A geomagnetic solar storm is expected to hit Earth in the next couple of days, allowing the auroras to be seen from Australia.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rated the geomagnetic storm as “minor”.

What is a solar storm?

A solar storm, also known as a geomagnetic storm, is when events that have occurred on the sun are felt on Earth.

These events may be induced radiation or streams of charged, electrical particles at a speed of over 4 million kph.

It can last for hours or for a couple of days.

How does a solar storm start?

It begins with a huge explosion that erupts on the sun.

These explosions are known as solar flares which are sudden flashes of sun’s increased brightness. 

The charged streams, known as ‘coronal mass ejections’ (CMEs), hit the Earth and cause the solar storm.

According to Wonderopolis, in February 2011, a CME produced a solar flare that “disrupted radio communications throughout China”.

What are the effects of a solar storm?

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

According to Thought & Co, “some experts have testified before Congress that space weather affects people’s ability to make phone calls, use the Internet, transfer or withdraw money, travel by plane, train, or ship, and even use GPS to navigate in cars”. 

On the other hand, a solar storm can create a magical display of the northern and southern lights.

In 1859, the biggest solar event in recent memory occurred. It lasted two days and the northern lights could be seen from many different countries including Mexico and Italy.

Northern Lights can be an effect of a geomagnetic solar storm. These northern lights were captured in Norway.
Northern Lights can be an effect of a geomagnetic solar storm. These northern lights were captured in Norway. Photo: Getty

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