Experts say a solar storm that recently passed Earth could cause problems for satellites and the country’s power grid.
The nearby solar flare threw dense plasma toward Earth, triggering geomagnetic storms in at least two US states, according to weather data.
The July 1st CME hit is part of a series of solar storms as the Sun goes through a period of heightened activity.
A CME is a solar flare called a coronal mass ejection, which is a huge ejection of plasma from the Sun’s outer layer, the corona.
This mass ejection of particles from the sun travels through space and the earth uses its magnetic field to protect us from it.
SpaceWeather.com experts reported:
“On July 1, a CME passed close to Earth. It didn’t directly hit our planet’s magnetic field.”
Scientists had predicted that a “near miss” could impact Earth’s magnetic field.
Instead, it made itself felt by ‘snowplowing’ dense plasma in our direction, experts at SpaceWeather.com said.
According to the website, there have been some problems in upper Midwest states like Minnesota and further west in Washington state.
In these states, SpaceWeather.com says:
“The near miss created a small G1 class geomagnetic storm with auroras.”
Auroras are among the positive aspects of solar storms.
The most famous example is the Northern Lights.
These natural light displays are examples of how Earth’s magnetosphere is bombarded by the solar wind, which creates the pretty green and blue shapes in the sky.
Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us from the more extreme effects of solar emissions and flares, but it can’t stop them all.
When a solar eruption hits the earth directly, it can cause a powerful solar storm.
This can cause problems with the power grid, satellite communication and even radio failures.
In 1989, a powerful solar flare shot down so many electrically charged particles that the Canadian province of Quebec was without electricity for nine hours.
This story originally appeared on The sun and is reproduced here with permission.