The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center is forecasting a moderate to strong geomagnetic storm to occur sometime later today or tonight, U.S. Eastern time.
If an X-class flare is powerful enough and aimed directly at Earth, it can cause radiation storms in Earth’s ionosphere and wreak havoc with radio communications.
Berger noted yesterday at a NOAA press conference that this X-class flare is not expected to produce a particularly large event, as these things go; there are perhaps 100 to 200 of this size of geomagnetic storm in a given solar cycle.
A: No. There are different types of space weather-geomagnetic storms, which affect communications, and solar radiation storms. Although this is expected to be a G3-level geomagnetic storm, it’ll only be an S1 solar radiation storm. Airlines have procedures in place for storms level S3 and above.
In the United States, Berger said, for a storm this size, it could be visible at night along the northern tier states bordering Canada, but it’s unlikely to be visible farther south.