According to the Russian Academy of Sciences, a massive magnetic storm is going to hit Earth this weekend. Said to strike on March 18th, this storm could upset radio communications across the entire planet, and lead to radar blackout and disruption of radio navigation systems. It can also affect power grids and pipelines, and even living things! Magnetic storms have been known to change blood pressure and flow, and to boost adrenaline in living organisms. They can also cause dizziness, headaches, and affect sleep patterns in humans.
What Exactly is a Magnetic Storm?
A geomagnetic storm (also known as a solar storm) is a disturbance (as in the force) of our planet’s magnetosphere. That’s the area where charged particles are affected by the Earth’s magnetic field. The storm is caused by energy from solar wind, which shoots out from the Sun. These energy bursts are known as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and can take between one and five days to reach our atmosphere.
Settle Down, Sun
Not all solar storms are disastrous. In fact, most are near harmless. It turns out that the Sun has about one every two days. This current storm is the third to reach Earth this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which helps build weather forecasts and predict space weather events here on Earth, says that there is absolutely no sign of a large magnetic storm coming. The organization claims that a misinterpretation of a small uptick in the Sun’s geomagnetic activity caused the alarm and got blown way out of proportion after being reported.
The Biggest Magnetic Storm in Earth’s History
The largest solar storm recorded here on Earth was in 1859. Known as the Carrington Event, it damaged electrical equipment all over the world. Of course, back then it was mostly just telegraph and radar equipment. Today, a massive magnetic storm could do far worse. The storm also caused auroras in places that never had them.
So, what do you think? Do you believe the NOAA? Or do you think the Russian Academy of Science is on to something—and no, we don’t mean they’re sending in a top spy to mess with our election process. Let us know in our comments section below.