TODAY’s solar flare is predicted to “blow sideways” the Earth, triggering a fluctuating geomagnetic storm on the power grid

TODAY’s solar flare is predicted to “blow sideways” the Earth, triggering a fluctuating geomagnetic storm on the power grid

SPACE experts are keeping an eye out for a new solar flare that could “streak” Earth today.

The flare was originally scheduled to hit Earth on Friday the 13th, but could cause a solar storm much sooner.

A plasma burst from the sun could trigger a solar storm today

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A plasma burst from the sun could trigger a solar storm todayPhoto credit: Getty

Experts from SpaceWeather.com explained: “Sunspot AR3007 has a delta-class magnetic field that contains energy for powerful explosions – and it faces Earth almost directly.

“NOAA forecasters estimate a 50 percent probability of M-class flares and a 20 percent probability of X-flares on May 12.”

The predicted solar flare has been dubbed the CME.

A CME is a type of solar flare called a coronal mass ejection.

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It’s a huge ejection of plasma from the sun’s outer layer, called the corona.

When solar flares collide with the Earth’s magnetic field, they can create geomagnetic storms that affect our satellites and power grid.

A recent solar storm caused radio blackouts around the Atlantic that lasted for over an hour.

Each solar storm that hits Earth is ranked by magnitude.

Flares expected today could be class M or class X flares.

SpaceWeather.com explains: “X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger worldwide radio blackouts and prolonged radiation storms.

“Class M flares are medium-sized; they can cause short radio outages that affect the polar regions of the earth.”

Intense flares can pose a threat to people on the International Space Station.

They can be fatal to an astronaut if they cause injury or interfere with mission control communications.

A small storm can confuse migratory animals, which rely on the earth’s magnetic field to orient themselves.

Fortunately, Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us from the more extreme effects of solar flares.

Each solar flare consists of intense electromagnetic radiation that emanates from the sun from time to time and can send a stream of highly charged particles our way.

This radiation could harm us if we were not protected by our magnetic field.

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In 1989, a powerful solar flare shot down so many electrically charged particles that the Canadian province of Quebec was without electricity for nine hours.

The sun is currently at the beginning of a new 11-year solar cycle, during which flares and flares usually become more intense and extreme.

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