Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

Major solar storms won't hit Earth this week, says NOAA

Major solar storms won't hit Earth this week, says NOAA

The storm's arrival coincides with the formation of "equinox cracks" in the Earth's magnetic field, which form around the equinoxes on March 20 and September 23 every year.

Though NOAA's Rutledge stressed in his statement that things should be fine on March 18, Newsweek noted that serious geomagnetic storms could indeed cause chaos should they hit our planet.

These events may be induced radiation or streams of charged, electrical particles at a speed of over 4 million kph.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) here in the United States, a geomagnetic storm is a "major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth". One storm occurred in 1859, while the latter occurred in 1989, which resulted in a nine-hour blackout in Canada.

These explosions are known as solar flares which are sudden flashes of sun's increased brightness.

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NOAA says the incoming solar storm is expected to be a G-1 "minor" storm.

A solar flare that erupted on August 4, 1972, knocked out long-distance communication across some USA states, according to NASA.

The strongest flares though can have an impact across the whole planet, triggering widespread radio blackouts and long-lasting storms - affecting Global Positioning System signals, radio communications and power grids.

According to Thought & Co, "some experts have testified before Congress that space weather affects people's ability to make phone calls, use the Internet, transfer or withdraw money, travel by plane, train, or ship, and even use Global Positioning System to navigate in cars".

A benefit of solar flares can be enhanced auroras or natural light displays such as the Northern Lights seen in the countries of the Arctic Circle.

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Media reports of major geomagnetic storms hitting Earth on March 14 and this weekend have surfaced in recent days.

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

Effects were so strong that, in some cases, telegraph wires delivered shocks to operators and ignited fires, and aurorae-phenomena usually only visible in polar regions-were seen as far south as Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy.

But the cracks could also create fantastic opportunities for stargazers to catch a better view of the Northern lights.

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