If you’ve become a bit jaded with all of the chat about the weather over the past few weeks, this might just be enough to get you interested again.
After ‘The Pest from the West’ and ‘The Beast from the East’ we can now announce that tomorrow could see a completely different type of storm arriving from across the gulf of space.
Basically, on 14 March there is going to be a big solar storm on Planet Earth. Now, before you grab your ‘the end is nigh’ placards and start looting, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m not announcing the heat death of our home planet (it is coming though) – the likelihood is that you’ll never even notice that it’s going on.
It might do a bit of messing around with your TV or phone signal, but that should be the worst of it.
These storms happen after the sun spews out loads of radiation from within itself in what is known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
This large amount of radiation is heading straight for Earth and will coincide with the time around the vernal equinox (March 20th).
For whatever reason, this means that the earth’s magnetic field has certain cracks in it that are called ‘equinox cracks’.
Once the radiation or ‘solar wind’ gets into these cracks it creates stunning auroras that will be visible in the far northern parts of the world and possibly even as far south as the north of England.
As mentioned earlier, it could also have an effect on satellites and power supplies, but it is not thought to be in any other way dangerous.
Luckily for us, we’ve got people on hand with some big telescopes to check out what the sun is doing at any given time and provide a ‘solar weather forecast’ for us.
These guys work at the Space Weather Prediction Centre in Boulder, Colorado. They have tried to explain what exactly is happening when we see these types of geomagnetic storm, reports the Metro.
They said: “A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth,
“The largest storms that result from these conditions are associated with solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) where a billion tons or so of plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth.”
So there’s no reason to be alarmed unless you are on a satellite, which I very much doubt that you are. (Now there’s some famous last words for you.)