A Raging Solar Storm Is Hitting the Earth Right Now
The largest solar storm since 2005 is now in progress, causing fluctuations on the power grid and disruptions to the Global Positioning System. The ongoing strong proton storm is in full fury. And it’s getting stronger; a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) impact also impacting us, traveling at 1,400 miles per second.
The radiation and geomagnetic storm caused by this CME are normal—about 2,000 geomagnetic storms happen in every 11-year solar cycle—but proton storms are very rare. Only a couple of dozen happen per solar cycle. This one—ranking S3 on a 5-level scale—is dangerous.
The storm has already affected air traffic and may affect satellites. On a telephone interview, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center physicist Doug Biesecker told me that, fortunately, there are measures to avoid most dangers.