Be prepared for a “severe Geomagnetic storm’

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For the first time in 19 years, a “severe” solar storm warning has been issued for several plumes of solar material about to slam into the Earth.

These five coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were spat out by a huge and extremely hyperactive sunspot called AR3664 and are due to crash into our atmosphere between May 10 and May 11. The last time NOAA announced a Severe (G4) Geomagnetic Storm Watch was in January 2005.

Powerful geomagnetic storms can have various impacts on Earth, including voltage control issues with the grid, satellite problems, radio blackouts, and scrambled GPS navigation. They can also result in the aurora borealis being seen further from the poles than usual, with G4 storms, in particular, sparking the northern lights as far south as Alabama and northern California.

CMEs are large clouds of solar plasma ejected from our star, often accompanied by a solar flare of X-rays. If these CMEs hit the Earth, they can trigger geomagnetic storms in our magnetosphere.

“The mass ejected from the Sun carries some of the Sun’s magnetic field with it. When the magnetized matter from the Sun collides with Earth’s magnetic field and rams into the outer layers of our protective field, we often get a geomagnetic storm,” Delores Knipp, a space weather research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Newsweek.

Geomagnetic storms are classed on a scale of G1 (minor) to G5 (extreme), with G4 storms being considered “severe.” There are around 100 G4 storms per 11-year solar cycle, however, only three have been observed since the beginning of the current solar cycle in December 2019. The most recent was seen on March 23.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!