Earth and the Sun are now in the middle of a series of powerful solar flares.
G-flares can cause a power outage across the United States and the Northern Hemisphere, as well as transform the colors and shape of the aurora borealis.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the powerful solar flare in October has resulted in a current of charged particles heading toward the earth and should be most evident when viewed from space. The pink glow seen on Halloween is due to the particles interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and causing the aurora to change color.
The USGS states that the radiation could also disrupt navigation, communication and power transmission systems in the skies, but thanks to powerful satellites and technology at ground level, little, if any, impact will be felt by citizens.
The space agency NASA says that these bursts of radiation are far less harmful than one can expect when exposed to higher levels of radiation after a radiation storm in space. NASA says, “since these solar eruptions don’t travel the same way that charged particles from a geomagnetic storm do, their arrival at Earth will be a slow process” compared to a solar storm.
The space agency also warned that we should stay away from the sky as the particles are likely to interact with the aurora and cause confusion to some.
Last month, scientists announced that a geomagnetic storm was on the horizon. This week, Space.com reported that the sun’s close encounter with the active sunspot AR1546 has the potential to create a powerful geomagnetic storm that could cause serious effects to satellites and even power grids.
Solar flares and coronal mass ejections have dropped since peaking in 2013, but experts say the recent eruptions on the Sun could be signs of a looming solar maximum, when the Sun is closest to Earth and most strongly charged.
In addition to their known effects on earth, solar flares have also been detected in deep space, with scientists still trying to figure out how they cause their power.
Read the full story at Space.com.
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