Solar Storm To Hit Earth On Monday May Pose Rare 'Triple Threat' From Space
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The new week is set to kick off with a bang on Monday as a major solar storm is forecast to impact parts of the planet.
According to data analysed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA,) there's a pretty high probability that the solar storm will impact Earth tomorrow (14 March) and a smaller chance that the UK could be directly affected.
The NOAA predicts that, over a two week period beginning tomorrow, there's an 80 percent chance of Earth receiving the impacts of a 'direct hit' from a solar storm, and a 20 percent chance that those impacts could reach the UK.
It sounds scary, but there's no need to worry. In fact, for some people it could actually be an interesting - and rare - opportunity.
The storm is set to make the Aurora Borealis (known to you and me as the northern lights) visible much further towards the equator than usual, with the stunning light show normally only seen at points closer to the north pole, such as Finland and, on occasion, Scotland.
Other possible effects caused by the storm include interference with radio and GPS systems - something experts say you should especially watch out for when the sun is rising and setting.
"Impact should be strong!", space weather physicist Dr Tamitha Skov tweeted yesterday, explaining: "Expect aurora deep into mid-latitudes, amateur radio & GPS reception issues, especially near dawn/dusk, and on Earth's nightside!"
And if the prospect of a direct hit from a solar storm wasn't enough, Dr Skov explained that the Earth is actually at the centre of a 'triple threat' from various forms of space weather, with the incoming solar storm combining with a 'glancing blow' from a previous solar storm, as well as strong solar winds.
Solarstorm & #Aurora 5-day Outlook: Busy week with a triple threat! A a big #solarstorm storm is coming sandwiched between a glancing blow from a previous #solarstorm & some fast #solar wind. In each table, top row shows what is expected, bottom shows possible maximum activity. pic.twitter.com/qFm7oJytk8— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) March 12, 2022
Solar storms are disturbances on the Sun which travel outwards across our Solar System. Major disturbances have the potential to cause significant impacts to Earth's electronic systems.
In 2012, one such storm missed the Earth by just nine days, with scientists claiming that a direct hit would likely have caused damage to the Earth's electronics systems on such a scale that it would have taken up to a decade to recover.
Monday's storm is not expected to cause significiant disruption.
This news comes after a rare red weather warning was issued for parts of the UK last month.
The red warning for wind covered southwest coastal areas of England and South Wales, where gusts of over 90mph were experienced on 18 February.
Much of the rest of the UK was already under a yellow or amber warning, with gusts of more than 70mph seen in areas further inland.