Solar storm to hit Earth today could make auroras brighter

The distances in space are hard to wrap our brains around. Last Sunday NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite captured a massive solar flare on the surface of the sun at 8:25 p.m. EST. That large solar flare released a coronal mass ejection or CME and is only going to hit the Earth today.

A CME is an explosion of magnetic field and plasma from the corona of the Sun and when that CME hits the atmosphere of the Earth it can cause some of our systems to go a bit haywire. Mostly the CMEs are responsible for geomagnetic storms and brighter auroras. Due to the incoming CME, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA) has issued a G1 geomagnetic storm watch for today.

G1 is considered a minor storm. The worst things that might happen to life here on Earth with this CME is an increase in the brightness and visibility of auroras. The NOA says that as a result, people in Northern Michigan and Maine might be able to see auroras.

The minor storm might also cause weak power grid fluctuations, but NOA admits that is unlikely to happen. Earth-orbiting satellites in high-geosynchronous orbits could see minor damage from the storm and high-frequency radio signals could be degraded.

NASA also notes that one odd side effect of solar storms of this sort is a disruption in the internal compasses of marine mammals possibly leading to increases in the number of animals stranded on beaches. Even a massive solar storm can't really harm the Earth according to a NASA report from 2013.

SOURCE: Fox News