A G1 or G2 geomagnetic storm is on its way – why it might cause disruptions

In the coming days, the Earth will once again be hit by a solar storm: lots of charged particles emanating from the Sun. A so-called G2 storm is expected to occur on Monday and a G1 geomagnetic storm is expected to occur on Tuesday. What are the dangers of such solar storms to devices, GPS devices, radios, and the Internet?

Last week, several explosions occurred on the surface of the Sun. The first plasma clouds reached Earth on Thursday, but they didn’t have such a big impact. A larger solar storm followed on Saturday. But geomagnetic storms will also occur in the coming days And he expected By the US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

Monday’s G2 solar storm will be larger than Tuesday’s solar storm (G1). The G scale is used to evaluate geomagnetic storms. G1 is the weakest storm classification and G5 is the strongest.

GPS and radio

According to a space weather expert Tamitha Skov A solar storm may affect radio and GPS reception. Solar storms can pose many risks to Earth and our technological systems. It has an impact on radio communications, especially on long and medium waves.

Satellites can also encounter problems due to ionization in the upper atmosphere, because air resistance increases in low Earth orbit. This can affect their trajectory and lead to a loss of speed and altitude. The passage of radio signals is also disrupted, which can cause errors in GPS systems.

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Power outage possible?

When solar storms are strong enough, they can enter the atmosphere. In extreme cases, it can lead to power outages, especially in areas with long power grids. In the 19th century, such a storm caused major problems and a large number of telegraph lines caught fire.

However, the chance of anything actually happening is slim. The effect is usually limited to the upper parts of the atmosphere. As a result, pilots may encounter some problems, but the average motorist should not worry. The possibility of the electricity network being affected is not great. For this reason, the storm must be exceptionally strong.

Northern lights

But although you may not notice much of a solar storm, there is a chance of seeing the northern lights. The northern lights are usually visible at the poles, but when a solar storm hits Earth, charged particles also cause this phenomenon at lower latitudes.

According to the Dutch expert Ramon East There is a possibility that the aurora borealis will also be visible in the Netherlands, but only if the direction of the IMF (interplanetary magnetic field) is reversed. This field is currently facing north, reducing the chance of the northern lights appearing in the Netherlands.


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Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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