Arts&Culture

Solar storm could hit Earth this week

Solar storm could hit Earth this week

Reports of a major solar storms that could wreak havoc on Earth this week are wide of the mark, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has not noted any significant storm-related activity on the Sun. While the idea of a massive solar storm hurtling toward Earth at thousands of miles per second sounds scary, there's really no need to worry.

Many news portals started publishing articles on the upcoming massive geomagnetic storm out of misunderstanding, however, the news went viral and it was trending on Google News on Monday's morning.

In an emailed statement to Newsweek, NOAA Space Weather Forecast Center chief Robert Rutledge told the publication that reports of a "massive" geomagnetic storm affecting our planet on March 18 may have been blown out of proportion.

Northern Lights can be an effect of a geomagnetic solar storm.

Aurora over Mt. Wellington. Image iStock
Aurora over Mt. Wellington. Image iStock

NOAA says the incoming solar storm is expected to be a G-1 "minor" storm. As Newsweek further noted, his comments came shortly after most publications who wrote on Monday about the purported storm had apparently misinterpreted a chart from the Lebedev Institute in Russian Federation that suggested the likelihood of increased geomagnetic activity on March 18, but nothing hinting at a major storm.

Geomagnetic storms are rated on a scale of G1 to G5, with the latter being the most extreme.

A solar storm, also known as a geomagnetic storm, is when events that have occurred on the sun are felt on Earth. The category rises from G1 to G5 with the increase in the intensity of the geomagnetic storms. Still, the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado says the famous Northern Lights could be seen across Canada and the northernmost parts of the USA such as ME and MI. If the charged particles have a stronger effect on Earth, it could be considered a G-2 "moderate storm". Over a century later in Canada, on March 13, 1989, a geomagnetic storm caused a major blackout in the country that lasted nine hours, disrupting electricity from the Hydro Quebec generating station and going as far as melting power transformers in New Jersey. The upcoming storm will put quite a show for stargazers around the world who can assemble at a flawless spot to watch the auroral lights and other natural phenomena that follows.

A solar flare on January 20, 2005, released the highest concentration of protons ever directly measured and took just 15 minutes to reach Earth, indicating a velocity of approximately one-third light speed.

Dog dies after being placed in overheard compartment during United flight
United Airlines say they are now investigating the animal's death and have apologized for the 'accident'. Interestingly, a United Airlines spokesperson claimed the incident violated their company's policy.


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