Large solar flare expected to hit Earth; could cause power fluctuations, auroras

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch for the northern hemisphere for Monday.

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On Saturday, a large solar flare was detected coming off the sun. The flare - officially known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) - was observed on the side of the sun directly facing Earth and comes as we enter a period of increased solar activity, according to Sky News.

The watch says this is a "G2" event. "G5" is the worst and "G1" is the most mild.

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Possible effects are power grid fluctuations with voltage alarms at higher latitudes. For satellites, it could have orientation irregularities and increased drag in low earth orbit.

People from New York to Wisconsin to Washington state might see an Aurora in the sky.

Moderate effects of the storm are expected Oct. 11, while minor effects could linger into Tuesday. 

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Astronomers do not expect the flare to cause major disruption as per the Carrington Event, believed to be the largest solar storm ever recorded, which hit Earth in 1859.

The Carrington Event left an aurora visible across the sky, even in latitudes much closer to the equator, and was described in contemporary reports as even brighter than the light of a full moon.


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