Sun Emits Back to Back Solar Flares, Significant Geomagnetic Storms Are Possible
Yesterday, the sun emitted a large solar flare in the direction of Earth, and experts are warning that the radiation may impact communications at some point tomorrow. NASA referred to the X-class solar flare as "significant" in a release put out by the agency yesterday, and space weather experts are warning that geomagnetic storms could be in the forecast until the end of the week.
X-Class flares are the strongest type of eruptions produced by the sun, and while this particular flare is at the lower end of the scale at X1.6, it is being taken seriously by monitors across the globe. Wednesday's event came after a less significant eruption was witnessed on Tuesday and it is this increase in activity that has experts on alert. We are fast approaching the peak of the current solar cycle, a cycle which thus far has been a comparatively quiet one. These latest storms are the clearest indicator yet that the sun is starting to make up for lost time, and further activity is expected.
For the vast majority of people the impact of the storms - expected as early as tonight - will be unnoticeable, however it has been known for such storms to interfere with power grids and effect certain communication systems in aircraft. One of the more positive impacts of the storm will be increased auroral activity which could see the awe-inspiring auroras, known as the Northern Lights, witnessed as far south as New Hampshire, Vermont and New York over the evenings of Thursday 11th and Friday 12th September. Elsewhere, the likes of England, Scotland, Denmark and the Netherlands could get a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights, however due to the time at which the aurora is expected to peak, it is likely that this will be limited to Friday 12th September.
To stay up to date on the latest space weather activity, visit http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/