Solar Storm Headed Our Way

It's relatively big, but no major problems expected for power grid
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2014 3:50 PM CDT
Solar Storm Headed Our Way
This image provided by NASA shows an ultra-violet wavelength image of solar flare captured on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/NASA)

If by chance your GPS is acting a little weird tomorrow or Saturday, this might be why: A relatively big solar storm is coming our way, reports USA Today. Scientists say no major disruptions in the power grid are expected, but satellite operators are on alert. The sun unleashed a solar flare yesterday that registers on the "extreme" end of the forecasting scale, though the worst of it was expected to miss Earth, reports AP. Yesterday's flare followed a weaker one the day before. The result will be a geomagnetic storm classified as G2 tomorrow, followed by a more intense G3 storm on Saturday, reports the Washington Post.

"G2-G3 geomagnetic storms can cause some problems for the (power) grid but are typically very manageable," says a forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We may also see some anomalies with satellites," he adds, "and problems with the accuracy of GPS have been observed with this level of storming." A better side effect: Residents in northern states should be treated to pretty skies at night. (A massive solar flare in 2012 might have zapped us back to the Stone Age had it come a little closer to Earth.)

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