Wednesday, 14 March 2018 - 14:17 UTC
There has been a lot of crazy news going around about a possible severe geomagnetic storm today and tomorrow which could knock out satellites, cause problems with your health and damage power grids and other total made up nonsense like equinox cracks in the Sun. Fake news if you'd like.
If you come across such an article and wonder how much of it is true... let's just say some journalists shouldn't report about space weather.
The facts are like this: a coronal hole was facing Earth a few days ago and a solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole is now starting to arrive at Earth. A rather common occurrence in fact. A minor G1 geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for today and tomorrow. A G1 geomagnetic storm is indeed only a minor storm. Kp8 or G4 are severe conditions. Minor G1 geomagnetic storm conditions are relatively common and do not cause problems with the power grid or damage satellites.
If you do not know what a coronal hole is here comes a quick crash course: A coronal hole is nothing more than an area on the Sun where solar magnetic field lines stretch into space instead of returning to the Sun. This creates an opening in the solar atmosphere which we call the corona and from this opening, solar wind can escape at higher speeds than normal. When these high speed solar wind streams arrive at Earth, we experience enhanced geomagnetic conditions. More information can be found here.
Long story short: do not worry about possible end of the world scenarios that some people and media outlets are reporting right now. What to expect today and tomorrow are possible enhanced auroral displays which with a bit of luck might be visible from locations like northern England, southern Scandinavia, the US/Canadian border and southern New Zealand/Tasmania. Nothing else. With this post we hope to take away some unrest which might be present among our readers.
Follow the data live on our website and if you are lucky enough to live under or near the auroral oval: enjoy the show!
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