Severe Geomagnetic Storm Declared For The First Time in 20 Years, Will Hit The U.S.

In this long exposure photograph, a car drives past and illuminates poplars as the northern lights glow in the night sky above the village of Daillens, Switzerland, early Saturday, May 11, 2024. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)
In this long exposure photograph, a car drives past and illuminates poplars as the northern lights glow in the night sky above the village of Daillens, Switzerland, early Saturday, May 11, 2024. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)

OAN’s Sophia Flores
5:35 PM – Friday, May 10, 2024

The largest solar storm to hit the United States in more than two decades is expected to arrive as soon as Friday evening.

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Scientists say the solar phenomenon, a G4 severe-geomagnetic-storm, occurs when high-energy particles released from solar flares ejected by the sun reach Earth. However, the effects are rarely felt here, as the sun is 93 million miles away from Earth.

This rare event will allow millions of Americans the opportunity to see Aurora Borealis, or northern lights.Β 

According to experts, the northern lights are “charged particles from the sun’s surface interacting with earth’s magnetic field.”

Researchers with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say that while the lights could reach as far south as Alabama, those north of northern California will most likely be able to see the solar storm with the naked eye as long as there is little to no light pollution.

The solar storm could interrupt communications, as the magnitude could cause widespread electrical disruptions, blackouts and damage to critical infrastructure.

“Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations,” NOAA said. “[The Space Weather Prediction Center] has notified the operators of these systems so they can take protective action.”

The NOAA revealed that the worst-case scenario would be similar to what happened during the 1859 Carrington event. During that solar storm, which was the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history, magnitude from it caused widespread electrical disruptions, blackouts and damaged critical infrastructure.

Scientists have discovered that this current storm, Sunspot AR3664, has reached a size that competes with the sunspot responsible for the Carrington event.

The true strength of the storm will not be known until roughly 8 p.m. ET on Friday when coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are about a million miles from Earth. There appear to be at least five CMEs directed towards Earth. Once they crash into Earth’s magnetic field, there will be a temporary weakening of our protective shield, known as a geomagnetic storm.

The disturbance is likely to peak on Saturday, May 11th. It will last until Sunday.

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