Solar Storm NASA

Solar Flare Warning Issued By NASA

A solar flare has prompted a warning from NASA. Particles from the flare are expected to reach Earth before Friday.

A solar flare is an eruption of high-energy radiation from the surface of the sun. When the flares erupt toward Earth, the magnetic energy can cause geomagnetic storms.

The storms can interrupt communication and electricity.

As reported by Computer World, the particles do not cause direct harm to people. However, the storms can interfere with satellites and cause power surges in electrical grids.

In 2012, a geomagnetic storm interfered with satellites, interrupting GPS and airline communication for several days. Thankfully, widespread interruptions are rate.

NASA reports that the latest flare occurred on Tuesday morning at 4:24 EDT. They have stated that the “powerful storm” is blasting toward the Earth at speeds of 3 million mph.

NASA officials explain that latest data suggests the coronal mass ejection is moving at a “fairly typical speed.”

The solar flare was quite powerful. However, NASA officials do not expect any major disruptions. They explain that “in the past, geomagnetic storms caused by CMEs of this strength have usually been mild.”

Mild geomagnetic storms may not cause communication disruptions. However, they can increase the northern and southern lights. The aurora are often more intense in the days following a solar flare.

Aurora watchers are encouraged to look for the lights beginning tonight. The Geophysical Institute provides an informative website, which documents aurora activity.

According to the institute, aurora activity is expected to be low for most of the world. However, those in higher latitudes may see low-level displays if they skies are clear.

The institute has recorded slightly elevated geomagnetic activity since the solar flare occurred. It is expected to continue through August 22.

The most recent solar flare was certainly impressive. However, it is not expected to cause any interruption in communication or electricity.

[Image via Flickr]

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