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14 March 2018, 12:54 | Regina Holmes
A huge solar storm is heading our way and gigantic 'cracks' are opening up in Earth's magnetic field
While the idea of a massivesolar storm hurtling toward Earth at thousands of miles per second sounds scary, there's really no need to worry.
The arrival of the solar storm coincides with the formation of "equinox cracks" in Earth's magnetic field, which form around the equinoxes on March 20 and September 23 every year.
Many news portals started publishing articles on the upcoming massive geomagnetic storm out of misunderstanding, however, the news went viral and it was trending on Google News on Monday's morning.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who spotted the solar storm using two NASA satellites, said: "A minor geomagnetic storm watch is now in effect for 14 and 15 March, 2018". A similar geomagnetic storm happened in 1989 which caused a 9-hour blackout in Canada.
It begins with a huge explosion that erupts on the sun.
Solar flares occur when a build-up of magnetic energy on the sun is suddenly released.
A solar flare that erupted on August 4, 1972, knocked out long-distance communication across some U.S. states, according to NASA.
"Railway networks could be affected in case of an extreme space weather event due to the direct impact on system components, such as track circuits or electronics, or indirectly via dependencies on power, communications, and progressively on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for timing and positioning", ScienceAlert reported, quoting JRC.
When a solar storm strikes it usually creates a spectacular "Northern Lights" display in parts of the atmosphere that can be seen in areas close to the Arctic Circle.
According to Thought & Co, "some experts have testified before Congress that space weather affects people's ability to make phone calls, use the Internet, transfer or withdraw money, travel by plane, train, or ship, and even use Global Positioning System to navigate in cars".
At other times, there might be less than one solar storm per week.
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?
But the cracks could also create awesome opportunities for stargazers to catch a better view of the Northern lights.
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