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Huge solar storm to hit Earth today as people warned about internet blackouts

Huge solar storm to hit Earth today as people warned about internet blackouts

The solar storm may also spark dazzling auroras visible from the UK

Forecasters have warned of a solar storm that could cause problems for internet, radio and GPS services.

Space weather physicist Doctor Tamitha Skov said the solar storm - also known as coronal mass ejection (CME) - could interfere with the Earth’s magnetic field, which could impact GPS and other communication services in parts of the world; it could also spark dazzling auroras.

In a post on X, she explained: “The storm is predicted to hit Earth by midday December 1.

“Along with two earlier storms already en route means we have a 1, 2, 3-punch. If the magnetic field is oriented correctly, expect #aurora to reach deep into mid-latitudes. Amateur #radio & #GPS reception issues are likely, especially on Earth's nightside. G3+ conditions are possible with this storm series.”

Solar storms are graded on a scale of one to five, with five being the most extreme.

A grading of G3 means the solar storm could be strong enough to cause problems for satellite navigation and radio navigation.

There could be disruption to communication services.
X/@TamithaSkov

According to yourweather.com, a G3 solar storm ‘has the ability to cause power fluctuations in power grids, difficulties in power grid control, impacts on satellite navigation, and auroras visible at lower than normal latitudes’.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said in an update that the ‘general public need not be concerned’ and that ‘infrastructure operators have been notified to take action to mitigate possible impacts’.

The solar storm brings with it an increased chance of an aurora being visible in the UK.

The Met Office said: “This activity brings a chance of visible aurora to parts of the UK today and to a lesser extent tomorrow (1st and 2nd Dec).

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an update.
NOAA

“However, the strongest activity is currently expected to occur during daylight hours, although there is a chance of views of the aurora as far south as northern England, Wales and Northern Ireland given good views of the northern horizon early into the coming night.”

A spokesperson from the Met Office told the Daily Mail that the aurora should be visible with the naked eye but that a decent camera may help.

“Cameras help as the long exposure allows loads of light in and enhances the colours more than the human eye can see,” they said. “That is why you see pictures as far south as Cornwall sometimes though you’re unlikely to ever be able to see it with the naked eye that far south.

“Of course there is a much better chance of seeing anything away from urban areas due to light pollution.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Photos

Topics: Space, Weather, World News, UK News