Geomagnetic Storm Headed Towards Earth
On May 22nd, millions of tons of gas erupted sending solar flares hurtling into space, unlike anything we've seen in years. According to NOAA models, this energy will hit Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of Tuesday, May 25th, potentially igniting moderate geomagnetic storms on May 26th. These could possibly affect weaker power grids and satellite operations as the energy is traveling at a rate as fast as 310 MPH.
The sun has an 11-year cycle where sunspot activity increases and decreases. Our Sun is currently in the portion of the cycle where activity begins to increase as it builds towards a predicted peak around the year 2025. So, chances are that we will experience much stronger flares and solar storms over the next few years.
The most powerful geomagnetic storm ever recorded resulted in the 1859 Carrington Event, when telegraph lines became electrified, shocking operators and setting offices on fire in North America and Europe. If a storm of that magnitude were to hit today, it would likely cut power to millions if not billions of people.
During this 1859 event, auroras were seen around the world, even as far south as the Caribbean. It’s been said that in the Rocky Mountains, the Northern Lights were so bright, that they woke up the gold miners, who began making breakfast because they thought it was morning. Elsewhere, particularly in the Northeastern United States, citizens could read a newspaper by the aurora's light.
This could also make the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) visible as far south as Chicago beginning tonight through Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, tonight is also a Full Supermoon that won’t set until just after 5 AM on Wednesday morning in Iowa.