A solar explosion recorded last Saturday is expected to trigger a geomagnetic storm in the most northern places on planet Earth. The warning was given by the United States Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The storm can cause power outages or fluctuations, satellite disorientation, communications problems and affect animal migration.
Another effect is that the aurora borealis can be visible as far south as New York City. In Europe the luminosity should reach Scotland and Northern Ireland not being visible because of the clouds.
It is common for particles magnetized from the sun to reach the earth. The phenomenon, solar wind, is generally harmless because the magnetic field around the planet is strong enough to block any harmful effects and redirect particles towards the poles, where they form auroras. The sun, however, can also cause more intense magnetic storms than the magnetic field can’t contain and therefore do more damage.
A cybersecurity expert, Chris Vickery, wrote on Twitter that today’s effects should be small as the explosion was classified as having a moderate intensity. The scale that measures the intensity of solar flares has 5 levels, from G1 to G5. Saturday’s phenomenon was classified as G2.
Solar activity has risen and fallen every decade and astronomers believe we are in the first years of a new period of turmoil.
The biggest geomagnetic storm hit Earth in 1859. The aurora borealis was visible in the sky even at latitudes very close to the equator and there were failures in the telegraph system in Europe and North America.