After several media outlets wrote about a massive geomagnetic storm that could hit Earth on March 18, it spread across the internet like wildfire. Upon reaching the Earth's magnetosphere, the storm interferes with the magnetosphere and causes exchange of energy between solar wind and space environment.
One major solar storm, now called the Carrington Event, struck the planet in 1859 and reportedly knocked out telegraph systems all around the world.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a "G1" storm watch. The weather in the space is quite cool and there is no imminent threat of any type of geomagnetic storm.
In fact, NOAA admits that a geomagnetic storm will hit the Earth on March 18th but this one will not even reach the G1 magnitude, therefore, it can't affect the satellites, the Global Positioning System equipment, or other communication means, as the Russians informed.
What are the effects of a solar storm?As per NOAA, news portals across the globe misinterpreted the graph published by the Russian Academy of Science and misunderstood a feeble G1 category of the storm into a massive storm. These included an article that warned about the possibility of people suffering from headaches and dizziness as a result of the event, and another one that claimed telecommunications might be disrupted, and that the storm may be a sign of "cracks" in Earth's magnetic field. These solar storms are accounted based on a scale of G1 to G5 where G1 is a weak/minor solar activity. If the charged particles have a stronger effect on Earth, it could be considered a G-2 "moderate storm".
According to the SWPC, it's possible that the solar storm - which will occur when charged particles from the sun interacting with Earth's magnetic field - will cause "weak power grid fluctuations" and may have a "minor impact on satellite operations".
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The SWPC says that the northern lights could be seen as far south as ME and MI thanks to the stream of charged particles heading our way.
Solar storms can also disrupt satellites and various forms of electronic communications.
Information on the internet is, unfortunately, often easy to manipulate, but there is really nothing to worry about when it comes to the geomagnetic storm on March 18.
On the other hand, a solar storm can create a magical display of the northern and southern lights.
Just because this storm isn't up to the hype doesn't mean that solar storms in general should be ignored.