October 5, 2022

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A ‘cannibal’ solar centrifuge heading straight to Earth could bring the northern lights as far south as Illinois and lead to power voltage problems.

A 'cannibal' solar centrifuge heading straight to Earth could bring the northern lights as far south as Illinois and lead to power voltage problems.

The sun may send a storm to Earth over the next few days. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), our fiery star unleashed a series of outbursts on Sunday that are now heading in the direction of our planet and could trigger a powerful geomagnetic storm.

One of those eruptions, called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, is expected to collide and consume another, creating what’s called a cannibal CME event. According to The Weather Channel, these events can trigger powerful geomagnetic storms — in which case, they’re headed in our direction.

NASA image of the sun, showing solar flare and coronal mass ejection
This 2004 image from NASA’s Sun and Heliosphere Observatory shows a solar flare, right, that erupted from a giant sunspot 649, sending a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space.

NASA SOHO/AFP via Getty Images


NOAA expects CMEs to hit Thursday, but before that happens, the agency said Earth will also collapse on Wednesday with a relatively fast solar wind, known as a coronal hole recurring high-speed current. The solar wind alone can cause a slight geomagnetic storm on Wednesday, but so are these conditions It is expected to escalate For strong conditions, known as G3, once solar flares appear.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said at least four coronal mass ejections have the potential to directly impact Earth.

Geomagnetic storms arranged on A Scale From the G1 to the G5, with the G5 being the most extreme. In such a situation, there would be widespread voltage control issues and some power grids could experience a “complete breakdown or blackout,” according to NOAA.

A G3 storm, such as that expected, may require that some power voltage systems need to be rectified and can also result in some false alarms on the power protection devices.

Such a storm can also create a beautiful side effect – visible northern lights outside of their usual realm.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, can be seen as far south as Illinois and Oregon if they hit the G3. A short-term forecast of the lights can be found over here.

Northern Lights over the Minnesota sky
The aurora borealis can be seen on the northern horizon in the night sky over Wolf Lake in the Cloquette State Forest in Minnesota in the early hours of the morning on September 28, 2019.

Alex Corman/Star Tribune via Getty Images


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