One doesn’t normally think of solar flares affecting the day to day happenings on planet earth. But today, due to the resulting solar storm we might see disruptions in our power grid and high powered GPS systems used by groups such as oil drillers and surveyors.
Don’t want to get lost in your car today? Don’t worry. Our regular GPS systems should be fine.
The solar storm on its way to earth is the strongest of its kind to reach earth in six years. The storm was started by two solar flares and now is a cloud of charged particles that was hurled from the sun reportedly at 4.5 million miles per hour.
NASA reports, “NASA’s models predict that the CMEs will impact both Earth and Mars, as well as pass by several NASA spacecraft – Messenger, Spitzer, and STEREO-B. The models also predict that the leading edge of the first CME will reach Earth at about 1:25 AM EST on the morning of March 8 (plus or minus 7 hours). Such a CME could result in a severe geomagnetic storm, causing aurora at low latitudes, with possible disruption to high frequency radio communication, global positioning systems (GPS), and power grids.”
The good news. Those who live in places like New York, Illinois and Iowa might get to see some beautiful auroras. Normally, you’d need to be closer to the poles to see a powerful display, so we might be in for a treat.
Harlan Spence, astrophysicist as the University of New Hampshire says that this kind of space weather is quite unusual. He told Reuters, “These relatively large (solar) events, which we’ve had maybe a couple of handfuls total in the course of a decade, we’ve now had two or three of them, more or less right on top of each other.”
He continued, “It’s a clear harbinger that the Sun is waking up. We’re trying to put this in context not only … of what has the Sun done in the past, but what is the biggest thing the Sun is capable of and what should we be planning for in terms of extreme sorts of events in the future.”
Let us know if you’ve been affected by the solar storm, or if you see the aurora borealis.