Northern Lights should be more visible due to solar storm


A solar storm could cause unusually large geomagnetic disturbances until Christmas, meteorologists have warned.

A solar flare ejected from the Sun on Wednesday projected magnetically charged particles and plasma from the Sun’s atmosphere, which was due to reach Earth on Thursday evening.

Severe solar storms can disrupt power grids and satellite services, but the most notable effect is usually an increase in the intensity of the Northern Lights.

The Met Office’s space weather forecast has warned of a “moderate class eruption” in the past 24 hours that could lead to a geomagnetic storm late Thursday through Friday.

“This eruption may have produced Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), but further analysis is needed if this will affect Earth,” the UK Meteorological Agency said in its provide.

“Further analysis is also needed for a CME that left the Sun around 7:30 p.m. GMT on December 21, as it may have an Earth-directed component.”

The forecast was extended through Christmas Day in an update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday morning.

The Sun has been exceptionally active over the past week, according to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Weather Network, with several active regions producing solar flares.

While none of these are likely to cause significant disruption on Earth, scientists have warned of a so-called super solar storm in the coming years that could plunge the world into an “Internet apocalypse.”

Such an event would interfere with the Earth’s magnetic field, which protects charged particles emitted by the Sun, called solar wind.

(Antony Spencer / Getty Images)

The Sun’s increasing and decreasing natural life cycle means that about once every 80 to 100 years, these winds intensify until an extreme weather event.

The last major solar storms occurred in 1859 and 1921, causing massive damage to the telegraph network at the time.

Global reliance on technology in the following years means the next major storm could cause far more disruption, with a study earlier this year warning that the robustness of undersea internet cables to such events. space weather has not been tested.


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