The solar storm is heading our way after a huge hole opened up on the surface of the sun. The hole, known as a coronal hole, has emerged on the upper atmosphere on the host star unleashing a barrage of cosmic particles towards Earth. Researchers warn cosmic particles are spewing out of the hole and will hit Earth at an astonishing 500 kilometres per second.
Website Space Weather wrote: “Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are underway as Earth enters a stream of solar wind flowing from a wide hole in the sun’s atmosphere.
“Bright arctic auroras are likely on Feb. 28th as the wind speed tops 500 km/s (1.1 million mph).”
While this solar storm is only considered ‘minor’, the consequences could be far more serious than the appearance of the northern or southern Lights.
For the most part, the Earth’s magnetic field protects humans from the barrage of radiation, but solar storms can affect satellite-based technology.
Solar winds can heat the Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing it to expand.
This can affect satellites in orbit, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.
Additionally, a surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blow outs and a loss of power.
The higher amounts of radiation also leave people vulnerable to cancer.
The Met Office has warned that we will face a monumental solar storm in the future, which could knock out Britain’s technology and cost the UK almost £16billion in damages.
The country could be plunged into a blackout because it is not prepared enough for powerful solar storms, the Met Office told ministers.
The weather forecaster believes the UK does not have sufficient infrastructure to prepare ourselves for such an event.
A researcher for the Met Office said: “We find that for a one-in-100-year event, with no space weather forecasting capability, the gross domestic product loss to the United Kingdom could be as high as £15.9bn.
“With existing satellites nearing the end of their life, forecasting capability will decrease in coming years, so if no further investment takes place, critical infrastructure will become more vulnerable to space weather.”