Severe Geomagnetic Storm Hit Earth On Monday Resulting in Aurora Across the World

25th Mar 2024
Severe Geomagnetic Storm Hit Earth On Monday Resulting in Aurora Across the World

Space weather forecasters have announced a possible geomagnetic storm until Monday. They warned that a surge of plasma from a solar flare was so strong that could disrupt radio signals on Earth. However, it also means we got a fresh portion of spectacular aurora borealis across the northern countries.

Consequences For Aircrafts

According to the alert issued Saturday by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder (Colorado), the geomagnetic storm might disrupt high-frequency radio transmissions. This could particularly affect aircraft trying to communicate with distant traffic control towers. 

Jonathan Lash, a forecaster at the centre, mentioned that, fortunately, most commercial aircraft have satellite transmission as a backup. 

Also, he assured that the public need not worry. Instead, they get a chance to witness spectacular aurora borealis.

Lash added that satellite operators could have difficulties in tracking their spacecraft, and power grids might encounter some “induced current” in their lines. But these challenges are manageable for both satellite operators and power grid systems.

Geomagnetic storm's impact on satellites
A spacecraft in the rays of the Sun. Image Credit: iStock

Opportunity To See Aurora Borealis For Public

Every 11 years, the sun undergoes a magnetic field reversal, where its north and south poles swap places. This cycle, known as the solar maximum, brings heightened solar activity.

Aurora Borealis over Yellowknife
Aurora Borealis over Yellowknife, Canada, last night. Image Credit: @AuroraHunterJoe
Aurora over Hillingdon, London
Aurora over Hillingdon, London. Image Credit: @melnyk_photos

Lash explained that during these periods, Earth can experience geomagnetic storms like the one that occurred on Sunday. They can happen a few times a year. For us, they bring an opportunity to see beautiful auroras across the skies.

The Northern Lights over the West of Calgary
The Northern Lights over the West of Calgary (Canada). Image Credit: @theauroraguy
The Northern lights over Kiruna (Sweden). Image Credit: @DrAndrewDzambo

“For the general public, if you have clear skies at night and you are at higher latitudes, this would be a great opportunity to see the skies light up,” he added.

Aurora Borealis over South Indian Lake
Aurora Borealis over South Indian Lake (Canada). Image Credit: @rjayroldan
Aurora over the central Iowa
Aurora over the central Iowa (USA). Image Credit: @wxkylegillett

In contrast, during the solar minimum phase, several years may elapse between such storms.

The Northern lights over Finland
The Northern lights over Finland. Image Credit: @RomppainenJari

As we know, the largest solar flare observed in past years caused a significant disruption in radio communications in December.

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