MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Scientists say it’s possible for Earth to experience a massive solar storm during the next two years. The sun is almost finished with a 10-year cycle when magnetic activity increases on its surface.
Solar flares happen all the time on the sun, but rarely are any pointed towards Earth. A geomagnetic storm could travel to Earth in less than three days.
Joe Kunches, NOAA Space Scientist, says, "The sun could produce a strong, energetic eruption that could cause a geomagnetic storm."
Magnetic storms cause power surges. Scientists say a solar storm could completely destroy satellites and disrupt global communication. GPS systems that guide airplanes could be damaged, along with cell phone towers.
Power companies continue to prepare for the coming solar storm. Power surges could cause transformers to explode. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) currently has three solar activity monitors in place across the service area and plans to install nine more.
“We have a very efficient alert mechanism in place with electric power companies,” says Kunches.
A geomagnetic storm is not a danger to your health, but scientists say to unplug all electronics in your home to protect against power surges if it happens.
The last massive solar storm hit Earth in the mid 1800’s. Brilliant aurora lights were seen as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.