An incoming barrage of solar particles has been spotted by researchers, who warned the storm could hit today. The solar storm has been described as “moderately strong” and is exacerbated by a small hole in our planet’s magnetic shield. The storm has been classed as a G-2, which can cause a ‘brown out’ for radio frequencies – making radio communication much more difficult, and can also cause power outages in high-latitude areas.
Northern lights, which are usually restricted to the Arctic Circle, may also be seen as far south on the globe as New York and Scotland.
Cosmic forecasting site Space Weather said: “A surprise geomagnetic storm is underway on May 14th.
“Storm levels are currently at G2 (moderately strong), which means auroras may be visible in northern-tier US states such as Minnesota, Michigan, and upstate New York.
“The reason for the storm: A crack has opened in Earth’s magnetic field, allowing solar wind to enter the magnetosphere.”
Usually, these storms are not dangerous and most commonly result in northern or southern lights.
However, sometimes the stream of particles can be so huge that it can cause Earth’s atmosphere to expand, as they heat the outer layer of it.
As the atmosphere expands, satellite signals make it much more difficult to reach the ground, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.
Additionally, a surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blow outs and a loss of power.
The strong shower of solar particles could also cause northern lights.
Auroras, which include northern lights – aurora borealis – and southern lights – aurora australis, are caused when solar particles hit the atmosphere.
As the magnetosphere gets bombarded by solar winds, stunning blue lights can appear as that layer of the atmosphere deflects the particles.