Geomagnetic Storm Slams Earth Causing Radio Signal Blackouts and Possible Auroras

Isis: An update on 06/26 – here is a picture of the aurora taken in northern usa. You can see more here: http://americankabuki.blogspot.com/2015/06/aurora-borealis-glows-in-central.html

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By Jess Baker Published Jun 22 2015 07:39 PM EDT – weather.com

Graphic from NOAA shows auroras may be visible over parts of the U.K. as well as North America early this week. (Space Weather Prediction Center/NOAA)

A geomagnetic storm hit Earth Monday as energy from a series of solar explosions reached Earth’s magnetic field — and space weather forecasters say it could be a multi-day event.

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NOAA map shows radio disturbances on Earth from the geomagnetic storm.  (NOAA)

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) said the magnetic storm,  which is forecast to hit a “severe” G4 level, slammed into Earth a little before 3 p.m. EDT Monday.

The solar activity is the result of the sun releasing a series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which NASA describes as “huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona.”

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a CME June 18, a second on June 19, and then a third on June 21. Energy from the third CME traveled swiftly enough to join the previous two.

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The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks outlines the best chances to see the aurora in North America.  (Geophysical Institute/University of Alaska)

Spaceweather.com reports there was a “moderately strong blackout of shortwave and low-frequency radio signals over North America,” and that the Earth’s poles were experiencing a deeper blackout. A blackout map from NOAAshows the reach of the blackouts.

(MORE: A 5,000 Mile Journey Over the Atlantic)

Radio distruptions aren’t the only way the storm could impact Earth. Skywatchers in Europe and the U.S. are likely to see dazzling Northern Lights displays much further south than average.

The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks said the aurora could be visible in a long stripe of the U.S. from Alaska into the Pacific Northwest, the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and New England. Scientists said there was a chance people as far south as Oklahoma City and Raleigh, North Carolina, could get a glimpse of the lights.

Astronauts at the International Space Station were already taken aback by the celestial show. Scott Kelly excitedly tweeted a photo of a red hue pulsing around the Earth, exclaiming, “I’ve never seen this before — red aurora. Spectacular!”

Astronaut Scott Kelly took this photo from the International Space Station as the geomagnetic storm hit Earth Monday. (Astronaut Scott Kelly/NASA)

“This is the very early stages of an event that will play out over many hours,” SWPC forecasters said of the geomagnetic storm.

SWPC predicts the storm could last into Tuesday, and could possibly reach the intensity of a similar storm in March, which allowed people into the Tennessee Valley and Upper Midwest to spot the Northern Lights.

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti’s Pictures from Space

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