Strongest Solar Storm Since 2005 Striking Earth
National Weather Service expects Coronal Mass Ejection to arrive at approximately 9 a.m. on Jan. 24.
The strongest solar storm since 2005 is currently underway, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The storm has peaked – but is not over – with the Coronal Mass Ejection expected to arrive at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. A Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is a cloud of electrified, magnetic gas hurled into space at speeds as fast as 2,000 kilometers per second. When these CMEs strike Earth’s magnetic field, magnetic storms can result. The NASA website states magnetic storms may affect satellites, radio communications and power systems.
“We have received reports that at least some airline flights over the north pole have been rerouted and that some other flights at high latitudes are flying at lower altitudes,” stated the NWS Space Weather Prediction Center on its Facebook page.
In 1989, a solar storm caused a massive blackout in Quebec, USA Today reported.
The NWS has categorized the solar storm as a G2 (moderate) geomagnetic storm with G3 levels possible. The storm is expected to continue through Wednesday.
National Geographic reports that Northern Lights could possibly be seen as far south as Texas and Georgia if the storm reaches strong enough levels.
“Exactly how intense and widespread the sky show will be depends on how our planet’s magnetic field is oriented at the time when the storm arrives,” according to the National Geographic website.
But what about the astronauts on the International Space Station?
"The flight surgeons have reviewed the space weather forecasts for the flare and determined that there are no expected adverse effects or actions required to protect the on-orbit crew," NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told SPACE.com.
For the latest space weather forecast, follow the NWS Space Weather Prediction Center on Facebook.