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Solar Observations Prompt Warning of ‘Strong Geomagnetic Storm’ on Thursday


Ejections from Sun
Image from GEOS-16 satellite shows ejections of mass from the Sun on Tuesday. NOAA photo

The federal Space Weather Prediction Center is warning of a “strong geomagnetic storm” on Thursday following observations of a significant ejection of mass from the Sun.

A geomagnetic storm watch is in effect through Friday for what scientists ranked as a G3 — or “strong” — storm from the Sun.

“Impacts to our technology from a G3 storm are usually minimal,” the agency said. “However, a G3 storm has the potential to drive the aurora further away from its normal polar residence, and if other factors come together, the aurora might be seen over portions of Pennsylvania, Iowa, to northern Oregon.”

Satellites monitoring the Sun observed a series of “coronal mass ejections” made up of millions of tons of hot matter from the sun with an embedded magnetic field.

The ejections began on Sunday, but the solar winds will not reach the Earth until Thursday.

The most severe geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on the surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio, and satellite operations. 


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