Solar Storm Could Dye Skies Green For St. Patrick's Day
Giant blast could cause power disruptions or just spark a brilliant nighttime light show.
The most powerful solar storm in years is rattling Earth's magnetic field today, bringing the potential to disrupt satellite communications and power grids on the ground. But with the luck of the Irish, the biggest effect might be only a great green show of northern lights.
On Sunday, two giant clouds of charged particles called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, flew off the sun. Along their 93-million-mile journey to Earth, these solar tsunamis merged into one huge storm that slammed into Earth's bubble-like magnetic field at 12:30 a.m. EDT (0430 UT) this morning. The storm level has been intensifying ever since.
The solar blast ranks as a G4, or severe, storm on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric