We are currently in the midst of the largest solar storm in more than six years.
We are currently in the midst of the largest solar storm in more than six years. This past Sunday, at 11PM Eastern US time, a solar flare released radiation that reached Earth in about an hour, and will continue through Wednesday, January 25th. On NOAA's storm scale, this storm is earning a "strong" rating (two other ratings are more intense, 'severe' and 'extreme'). Here's the cool part. The radiation (protons) came out of the sun at speeds of 93 million miles per hour. Now that's some kind of ride! After the radiation comes the coronal mass ejection (sun plasma) that usually travels at 1 or 2 million miles per hour. However, experts expect this time it will travel at 4 million miles per hour. It's this part of the storm that can cause the most problems on earth, such as electrical grid outages. Those in upstate NY, parts of New ENgland, northern Michigan, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest might catch a glimpse of an aurora on Tuesday evening. (If you see one, tell us about it in the comments below).
For more information, see the Associated Press article, "Strongest solar storm since 2005 hitting Earth" or head right to the NOAA Solar Dynamics Observatory.