This year’s most closely watched solar storm is sweeping over our planet right now, and so far the impact on satellites, power grids and communication networks is not as severe as some had feared, space weather experts say.
However, they cautioned that the storm could intensify as the day goes on.
Two strong solar flares erupted from the surface of the sun late Tuesday, blasting a wave of plasma and charged particles toward Earth. This eruption of material — called a coronal mass ejection, or CME — sped through space at 4 million mph (6.4 million kilometers per hour).
A monitoring satellite known as the Advanced Composition Explorer picked up the first signs of the CME’s interaction with our planet’s magnetic field around 5:45 a.m. ET Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center reported.