Solar Storm to hit Earth Tonight: Watch stunning display of Northern Lights

15 March 2018, 11:47 AM
File Photo
File Photo

Massive storm will hit Earth tonight which could trigger stunning displays of the Northern Lights. Also, this storm is classified into as G1, this happens when charged particles from the sun interact with gases in our planet's atmosphere, resulting them to light up.

It is said that the northern lights or in other words the solar storm will most likely affect Earth's northern regions, with Aurora displays possible in northern parts of Scotland, Ireland, and England.

The massive storm can create small disruptions to satellite communications and create very small surges in the power grid.

According to a press release, It is during geomagnetic storms that beautiful aurora borealis, or northern lights, are visible at high latitudes. However, geomagnetic storms can also cause risks to the power grid. Credit: Joshua Strang, U.S. Air Force.

Space weather events such as geomagnetic storms can disturb the earth’s magnetic field, interfering with electric power grids, radio communication, GPS systems, satellite operations, oil and gas drilling and air travel. Scientists use models of the earth’s structure and measurements of Earth’s magnetic field taken at USGS observatories to determine which sections of the electrical grid might lose power during a geomagnetic storm.

In a new U.S. Geological Survey study, scientists calculated voltages along power lines in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. using 3D data of the earth. These data, taken at Earth’s surface, reflect the complex structure of the earth below the measurement sites and were collected during the National Science Foundation EarthScope USArray project. The scientists found that for many locations, the voltages they calculated were significantly different from those based on previous 1D calculations, with the 3D data producing the most precise results.

“Using the most accurate data available to determine vulnerable areas of the power grid can help maintain life-saving communications and protect national security during severe geomagnetic storms,” said Greg Lucas, a USGS scientist and the lead author of the study. “Our study suggests that 3D data of the earth should be used whenever they are available.”

“This discrepancy between 1D- and 3D-based calculations of the 1989 storm demonstrates the importance of realistic data, rather than relying on previous 1D models, to determine the impact that a geomagnetic storm has on power grids,” Lucas said.  

The new study is published in the journal Space Weather.

First Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 08:10 AM
For all the latest Science News Download the News Nation App available on Android and iOS.