Days after parts of the world were hit by the most significant solar flare in six years, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is now warning that Earth could be in for more geomagnetic impacts, including the display of the Northern Lights.
The company has issued a Geomagnetic storm monitoring For an increase in solar activity until at least Sunday, December 17.
Experts have observed several coronal mass ejections from the Sun that have sent plasma particles hurtling toward Earth.
“Several CMEs from December 14 and 15 may cause G1-G2 (minor-moderate) geomagnetic storm conditions on December 16-17.” NOAA said during Friday’s update.
Initial indications from the agency indicate that the event could reach a value of 6 on the Kp Index scale of 0 to 9.
Previous events of this magnitude have resulted in dancing colors of green, red and purple from Seattle to Minneapolis and Buffalo, New York.
Clouds and light pollution are known to interfere with visibility and reduce the visibility of auroras.
If the phenomenon is underestimated, communities further south may get a chance to see the Northern Lights. The most notable solar event will bring light displays to cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Des Moines, Iowa.
In addition to creating auroras, geomagnetic storms have the potential to affect power grids, spacecraft, and communications equipment.
NOAA said electrical transformer damage is possible and radio signals are likely to fade during a prolonged event.
At last report, the event was expected to reach a G2 level on NOAA’s 5-point scale of geomagnetic activity.
An event that reaches G2 is considered mild, but if it reaches G3, the activity is considered strong and has far-reaching implications.
Solar activity, including coronal mass ejections and solar flares, is increasing as so-called Solar Cycle 25 reaches its expected peak in 2024.
A solar cycle is a sequence in which the Sun’s magnetic field goes through every 11 years, where the field flips. Solar cycle 25 started in 2019 and will last until 2030, if predictions are accurate.