According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) here in the United States, a geomagnetic storm is a "major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth".
In recent days, several reports emerged of a geomagnetic storm purportedly due to hit Earth on March 18.
Charged, magnetic particles from the solar storm can interfere with machinery in Earth's orbit as well as at the planet's surface, such as GPS systems and radio signals.
AN INCREASE in geomagnetic activity has some experts concerned that the solar storm expected to hit Earth tomorrow could wreak havoc - but is it that big a deal?
The impending storm will barely reach the threshold of a G1, Newsweek reported.
Perhaps you've heard; a solar storm is on the way. As Newsweek further noted, his comments came shortly after most publications who wrote on Monday about the purported storm had apparently misinterpreted a chart from the Lebedev Institute in Russian Federation that suggested the likelihood of increased geomagnetic activity on March 18, but nothing hinting at a major storm. These included an article that warned about the possibility of people suffering from headaches and dizziness as a result of the event, and another one that claimed telecommunications might be disrupted, and that the storm may be a sign of "cracks" in Earth's magnetic field. Geomagnetic storms are measured on a scale of G1 to G5, with G1 being the most minor and G5 being the most severe. Still, the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado says the famous Northern Lights could be seen across Canada and the northernmost parts of the USA such as ME and MI.
A solar storm is actually expected to impact the Earth from March 14 to March 15, but it certainly isn't massive.
Most recently, a series of storms in the autumn of 2003 forced the Federal Aviation Administration offline for 30 hours, severely damaged the Japanese ADEOS-2 satellite, and resulted in an extreme radio blackout.
Just because this storm isn't up to the hype doesn't mean that solar storms in general should be ignored.
A benefit of solar flares can be enhanced auroras or natural light displays such as the Northern Lights seen in the countries of the Arctic Circle.