If you happen to be in a high latitude geographic area, be ready to take some breathtaking pictures.
Space weather agencies announced that a solar storm would manifest on Monday, 27 September. The scale of the event will be moderate, but the highlight of it is the fact that there’s a chance we might see an aurora.
The NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the British Met Office have both made their predictions regarding the incoming storm, which is believed to be the consequence of several solar coronal mass ejections (or CMEs for short), combined with solar winds originating from a “hole” that appeared in the Sun’s corona.
Though there may be a total of four CMEs that could affect the planet, you mustn’t be afraid.
The storm will reach only a level as high as G2, which is relatively mild in the solar storm scale, which has a limit of G5, being the strongest possible storm.
At increased latitudes, G2 storms could produce power grid fluctuation, GPS systems could malfunction, as high-frequency radio propagation could fade.
The Silver Lining
There is a very convenient outcome to the situation:
“Aurora may be seen as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state,” according to the NOAA alert.
Solar storms are a natural byproduct of space weather, and in the following few years, we will most likely experience multiple instances of them. They happen when the Sun gets somewhat rowdy, taking the shape of CMEs and solar winds, which, in return, provoke disruptions in our planet’s magnetic field and upper atmosphere.
The physics behind a CME is relatively simple to understand conceptually. The Sun’s corona (which is its atmosphere’s outermost layer) erupts, ejecting plasma and magnetic fields into space.
If the CME happens to point towards Earth, the collision of the solar ejecta with our planet’s magnetic field results in geomagnetic storms, which are often dubbed as solar storms.