Eyes open, no fear: a massive solar flare will be smashing the planet today, with possibly power grid disruption and even seeing Northern Lights as far south as New York.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said that a geomagnetic storm could cause power grid fluctuations, as well as satellites possibly being affected too. NOAA added that satellites could experience "orientation irregularities" that would force ground control to manually redirect them -- as well as anything else in low-Earth orbit.
NOAA explained: "Event analysis and model output suggest CME arrival around midday on 11 Oct, with lingering effects persisting into 12 Oct". Meanwhile, the Met Office added: "Aurora is possible through [the] 11th across much of Scotland, although cloud amounts are increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely".
"There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but cloud breaks and therefore sightings are more likely in Northern Ireland".
Since we live in an era of major fear porn in the news, Sky News reports that "astronomers do not expect the flare to cause major disruption as per the Carrington Event, believed to be the largest solar storm ever recorded, which hit Earth in 1859. The Carrington Event left an aurora visible across the sky, even in latitudes much closer to the equator, and was described in contemporary reports as even brighter than the light of a full moon".
You can read more about this here, but I think we'll be safe -- although it's always good to be cautious.
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