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Solar storm could hit Earth this week

14 March 2018

Perhaps you've heard; a solar storm is on the way.

But that's not the full story.

In fact, at best, it's a serious misunderstanding of the facts, and at worse, it's a purposeful sensationalization of a pretty average solar event.

"It's very quiet", Bob Rutledge, lead of operations for NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, told Fox News. Rutledge went on to say that he's unsure what "equinox cracks" are, and that the SWPC doesn't use that term.

In fact, NOAA admits that a geomagnetic storm will hit the Earth on March 18th but this one will not even reach the G1 magnitude, therefore, it can't affect the satellites, the Global Positioning System equipment, or other communication means, as the Russians informed.

Geomagnetic storms are rated on a scale of G1 to G5, with the latter being the most extreme.

A major explosion in the sun's atmosphere known as a flare, which took place on March 6 and 7, triggered the solar storm.

That's a far cry from the serious power outages touted by some.

The warning, issued by the Australian Space Forecast Centre, said the increased geomagnetic activity was due to a "coronal hole high speed wind stream".

Has Earth experienced magnetic storms and what do they look like?

However, even though it won't be the case here, NOAA admitted that a severe magnetic storm could alter the proper functioning of the satellites, therefore, some communication pieces of equipment wouldn't correctly function. "Transformers may experience damage".

The SWPC says that the northern lights could be seen as far south as ME and MI thanks to the stream of charged particles heading our way. Charged particles from the burst are now headed straight for Earth.

And the impending solar storm may bring those Northern Lights much farther south than usual.

Just because this storm isn't up to the hype doesn't mean that solar storms in general should be ignored.

Magnetic storms are caused by variations in the solar wind that produces major changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in Earth's magnetosphere, which is a region surrounding our planet with charged particles. According to the federal government's website, one geomagnetic storm in 1859 shocked telegraph operators and set the paper they were working with on fire, while another in 1989 caused a nine-hour blackout in Canada.

Solar storm could hit Earth this week