Violent space weather due to hit Earth

By Calvin Palmer

Here is tomorrow’s inter-galactic weather forecast.

The Earth is due to be hit by a wave of violent space weather following two solar eruptions on Sunday, which sent tons of plasma is racing 93 million miles across space like a solar tsunami.

The wave of supercharged gas is likely to spark spectacular displays of the northern lights which will likely be seen as far south as Maine to Michigan.

Usually only regions closer to the Arctic can see the aurora of rippling reds and greens, but solar storms pull them south.

The federal Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, said the plasma will likely arrive late tomorrow night or early Wednesday.

Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption could destroy satellites and wreck power and communications grids around the globe.

It remains unclear how much damage this latest eruption will cause the world’s communication tools.

But the Space Weather Prediction Center said tomorrow’s storms are not much of a threat to satellites or power grids.

Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Surrey, England, has been following the solar flares.

“This was a very rare event – not one, but two almost simultaneous eruptions from different locations on the sun were launched toward the Earth,” solar expert Green said.

She continued: “These eruptions occur when immense magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere lose their stability and can no longer be held down by the Sun’s huge gravitational pull,” she said. “Just like a coiled spring suddenly being released, they erupt into space.”

She added: “It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun’s visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption.

“Both eruptions could be Earth-directed but may be travelling at different speeds.

“This means we have a very good chance of seeing major and prolonged effects, such as the northern lights at low latitudes.”

[Based on reports by The Daily Telegraph and Associated Press.]

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