'Extreme' solar storm headed straight for Earth | September 12 2014
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Scientists have warned that an 'extreme' solar storm is headed directly towards Earth tomorrow with communication systems and satellites set to be affected. The storm is moving towards us at a rate of 2.5 million mph so it is possible that the storm could even reach Earth as early as tonight. However, it is important to note that solar storms in no way endanger people in a direct manner.
There has been a surge of activity on the sun this week after 2 separate large solar flares created a ruckus. The second flare, which erupted on Wednesday, was classed as an X1 flare which is the strongest possible on the flare classification scale. It was a major coronal mass ejection that will affect Earth's magnetic field by sending a huge amount of energy hurtling toward Earth.
An X1 flare has not been seen by observers for quite some time and the resulting solar storm that will hit Earth is expected to be in the mid-range as it will register at G2 on a scale which runs from G1 to G5. However, it will still be strong enough to disrupt power grids with the possibility of transformers being overloaded if the storm lasts for a prolonged period of time.
One of the upshots of solar storms of this magnitude hitting Earth, however, is that they can extend the areas that the Northern Lights are visible in. This Friday, the Aurora Borealis will be seen much further south with northern states in the US as well as countries across the northern mainland of Europe being afforded a rare opportunity to gaze at their beauty.