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Earth Under Solar Storm Watch

Post-Flare Loops Erupt From Suns Surface
Getty Images

As if Earth-based storms like Harvey, Irma, and now Katia weren’t enough, the Space Weather Prediction Center (yes, that’s a real thing) has issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch for the planet that will remain in effect through tomorrow due to the G3 level solar storm.

What is a “Geomagnetic Storm,” you ask as if it’s written on a card full of questions you are supposed ask?  I am glad you asked, A Geomagnetic or “Solar” Storm occurs when the Sun experiences a C.M.E. (coronal mass ejection) that flings a gigantic wave of charged particles at our fragile planet’s magnetic field.  This causes the phenomenon we know as the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, in the northern latitudes.

Northern Lights in Norway
Getty Images

This beautiful display will be visible further south due to the magnitude of the sun’s release, but there is a price to pay for this ethereal light show.  All of those charged particles hitting the Earth at the same have the potential to completely overload almost any device that utilizes electricity or signals that travel through the air.  That means television, radio, cell phones, radars, even vehicles that use some sort of electricity (every thing but pure steam and wind) are vulnerable to this kind of burst.

Space Weathermen say that this time, the electric disruption should be limited and centered around North Africa.  The Aurora Borealis effect will be visible in the northern portion of the U.S. for the next 2 nights.

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