The likelihood of a solar storm impacting Earth in the near future is difficult to predict with certainty. The Sun’s activity is cyclical, and we are currently in a period of increasing solar activity, which means that the chances of a solar storm are higher than usual. However, it is also possible that we may go through a period of relatively low activity before the next major solar storm.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) provides regular forecasts of solar activity, including the likelihood of solar storms. The SWPC’s latest forecast, issued on November 28, 2023, indicates that there is a moderate chance of a G1-G2 geomagnetic storm (minor-moderate) impacting Earth on November 30, 2023. However, this is just a forecast, and the actual event may be stronger or weaker than predicted.
The SWPC also provides real-time updates on solar activity and space weather conditions. You can sign up for email or text alerts to receive these updates.
Here are some of the things to expect if a solar storm hits Earth:
- Aurora: The most noticeable effect of a solar storm is the appearance of auroras, also known as the Northern Lights or Southern Lights. Auroras are caused by charged particles from the Sun interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Power outages: Solar storms can disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field, which can cause power outages, especially in areas with vulnerable power grids.
- Satellite outages: Solar storms can also damage satellites, which can disrupt communication and navigation systems.
Overall, the risk of a major solar storm is low, but it is something that we should be aware of. The SWPC provides valuable information to help us prepare for and mitigate the effects of solar storms.