The Sun is about to strike Earth with a powerful solar storm today, and while not life-threatening, it could impact radios, satellites, and other technologies on the planet. It’s easy to look up at the Sun and see it as nothing but a small, bright light in the sky. It gives us light, heat, and allows life on Earth to exist as it does today. But the Sun is so much more than a tiny light we see throughout the day. It’s a massive ball of plasma that’s over 4 billion years old and around 109 times larger than Earth.
It may seem harmless enough from 92 million miles away, but when you get up close to the Sun, there’s no denying the sheer power that it contains. Because of how much energy is constantly radiating from the Sun, it’s not uncommon for it to experience solar storms (also known as geomagnetic storms). Solar storms occur when too much ultraviolet energy shoots out from the Sun and hits Earth’s magnetic field. Sometimes these solar storms are small and go unnoticed. Other times, they have so much power that they can impact daily life on Earth.
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And that’s exactly what’s expected to happen today. According to a report from The Weather Channel, a solar storm is likely to hit Earth on April 14. The Sun is quickly nearing a phase called ‘Solar Maxima’ — an event that happens roughly every 11 years when the Sun experiences its strongest solar activity. The lead-up to Solar Maxima causes solar storms to be more intense than usual, resulting in storms like the one we’re getting today.
What We’re Expecting From The April 14 Solar Storm
What does all of this mean for us on Earth? Thankfully, not too much. The April 14 solar storm is classified as a G-2 event — the second least-powerful type of solar storm. Per the NOAA‘s website, G-2 solar storms can trigger voltage alarms for high-latitude power systems and cause drag in any spacecraft operations. Folks in New York may also get an unexpected sighting of the northern lights. For a solar storm to have legitimately dangerous effects on Earth, it needs to reach a G-4 or G-5 level — and that’s not at all anticipated for this latest one today.
But that’s not to say the April 14 solar storm will go completely undetected by people on Earth. The Weather Channel reinforces that it may ’cause issues’ with some electrical grids. Some places in high altitudes may also “experience G-2 level moderate storms, and may therefore experience power outages and radio signal disruption.” It’s certainly nothing to stress over, but if your radio or cell reception is a little spotty today, now you know why. It’s all the Sun’s fault!