Eruption From the Sun May Affect Power Grid, Scientists Say

Other issues that could affect GPS systems include "intermittent problems."
Big Storm

A huge solar storm is causing so much radiation to the Earth that it could disrupt power grids.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), warned that the storm could lead to power system voltage irregularities in a Thursday statement.

Surface charging can also cause dangerous discharges of excess electrons to spacecraft. Low Earth orbit satellites may experience orientation problems because of increased drag. Intermittent issues could also be experienced by GPS systems.

The Sun does not play games, in other words.



Weather Aboveground

As the Sun's 11-year cycle nears its peak, its activity has been steadily increasing in strength. This latest warning reminds us that although our planet's atmosphere acts as a shield against harmful radiation, it will not be able protect all electronic systems that we have put in place, especially those that orbit the Earth.

NASA reports that one flare was so intense last month, it registered as an "X1-class" flare on detection. This is the strongest of its kind.

The auroras or northern lights are also appearing across North America due to the ongoing solar storm.

According to the SWPCs statement auroras can be seen as low at Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon.



As humanity travels further outside of the planet's protective bubble, the topic of space weather is becoming more relevant. Space weather could pose a real threat to astronauts due to the unusually high radiation levels.

While a strong solar storm might not have a major impact on everyday life, it could be a life-or-death matter for astronauts.

READ MORE: A solar storm caused by a cannibal sun eruption could disrupt power grid and cause auroras to reach Pennsylvania []

Continue reading: The Sun just blasted Earth with an enormous solar flare



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