A large solar storm is expected to slam into Earth imminently, which could bring with it incredible views of the northern lights.
The storm could however also deliver some disruption to navigation and logistics systems.
NASA has projected that the storm is due to hit imminently.
While it could pose a challenge for some, there is also hope that stargazers and photographers might be able to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking natural marvel with their own eyes.
Read on for what you need to know about the storm, what causes it and whether or not it could be dangerous.
What is a solar storm?
A solar storm is caused by electromagnetic radiation being thrown out by the sun impacting particles here on earth.
The solar winds hit Earth’s magnetic field causing light to be emitted – this is what creates the northern lights.
Where will you be able to see the solar storm?
Space weather forecaster Tamitha Skov said people in New York might be able to catch the aurora. The UK is at a higher latitude than New York so there's a chance some people here might be able to catch a glimpse of the beautiful natural phenomena.
People in New Zealand and Tasmania in the southern hemisphere could also be able to catch a glimpse of the storm “as long as it is dark enough”.
Big solar storms are known as coronal mass ejections – billions of tones of coronal matter, carrying with them a strong magnetic field.
Are solar storms dangerous?
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Despite all of their natural beauty, solar storms do come with a specific kind of threat, specifically regarding navigation and logistical systems.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said: "While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic-induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines."
Some corona mass ejections can have significant impacts on our infrastructure.
For example, the 1859 Carrington Event is believed to be the most intense geothermal storm events recorded, with auroras being seen as far south and away from the poles as the Caribbean.
Some researchers have said that were this event to take place today, with our widespread use of electrical technology, it would have caused widespread disruption. It would have caused blackouts because the power grid would have failed.
In February 2022, a small geomagnetic storm was responsible for taking out 40 SpaceX Starlink satellites.
When is the solar storm due to hit Earth?
The solar storm is due to hit Earth on Monday, March 28. NASA has estimated that the storm will hit at around midnight.
This is however disputed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who projects it will hit at around 6am.
This means there could be a bit of room for manoeuvrability as to when the storm is likely to hit.
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