Solar storm on track for Earth after solar flares erupt on sun, NASA warns

A solar storm could have an impact on Earth Thursday morning.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite showed a coronal mass ejection on the sun between Sunday night and Monday morning.


This solar flare is forecast to send a solar storm towards Earth, and according to computer models, the storm could impact around 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

A solar flare, classified as a long-duration C1.5 has warranted a G1 (Minor) Geomagnetic storm watch for Feb. 15, 2018.

Computer model showing the solar storm heading towards earth (yellow dot).

While this storm is not expected to be large compared to past solar storms, it could still have an affect on Earth. Here are some things that could happen as a result:

  • These storms can cause weak power grid fluctuations.
  • Minor impact on satellite operations is possible.
  • Aurora possible in the mid-latitudes where skies are clear. This is not likely for us due to a large amount of cloud cover and the sun coming up around that time, but those on the west coast of the U.S. may see them.
  • Storms of this size can have an effect on migratory animals in northern regions, most likely Canada and points north.

Solar storms of this scale do happen fairly often, although most don't affect Earth. Data suggests storms like this occur approximately 1,700 times per 11 years (per solar cycle) or 154 times per year, but rarely does one actually hit the Earth.

Most of these storms eject from the sun into open space.