Polar lights could be seen as far away as Alabama, experts say.

An image of the surface of the sun, with a bright spot on it.

On May 10, 2024, NASA captured this image of a solar flare. These eruptions projected several clouds of plasma towards Earth.

Photo: NASA / Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

A geomagnetic storm could hit Earth this Friday. A generator of the Northern Lights, this phenomenon could however also disrupt the Internet network and contact with satellites, among other things.

Note : the storm caused spectacular northern lights during the night from Friday to Sunday. We have a more recent article on the subject.

There National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States predicts that the geomagnetic storm forecast for Friday could be the strongest in almost 20 years.

Since Wednesday, scientists have observed a series plasma explosions and magnetic fields from the solar coronawe read in a press release from the NOAA published Friday. These explosions are called coronal mass ejections (EMC).

EMC) can go in any direction away from the sun, but these go towards Earth. They are expected to reach Earth Friday evening and Saturday. There’s a series of four or five of them. These (EMC) can go in any direction from the sun, but these go towards Earth. They are expected to reach Earth Friday evening and Saturday. There is a series of four or five of them. These (EMC) can go in any direction away from the sun, but these go towards Earth. They are expected to reach Earth Friday evening and Saturday. There is a series of four or five of themexplain Kyle Reiterspace weather analyst for Natural Resources Canada.

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The Northern Lights could then be visible almost everywhere in Canada, including in regions where they are almost never seen.

Northern lights.

Northern lights, like this one in Gaspésie, could be visible as far away as the middle of the United States. (Archive photo)

Photo: Gaspésie Amateur Astronomers Club

It will also cause disruptions to things like high-frequency radio communication in aviation. It is also possible that this could cause the voltage in the electrical networks to fluctuate.says Mr. Reiter.

Magnetic fluctuations could also disrupt satellite signals, meaning GPS systems could experience misfires during this time.

The deposition of energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, the ionosphere, can disrupt radio communications. Suddenly, the upper layers of the atmosphere become opaque to radio waves, so we lose contact with GPS, communications satellites.

A quote from Paul Charbonneau, professor in the physics department of the University of Montreal

In 1989, a geomagnetic storm caused a widespread outage for nine hours in Quebec. Mr. Reiter However, space weather technology and monitoring have come a long way since then.

1989, I would tell you today would not cause a power outage, because the electric companies have learned, to protect the networks, An event of the same intensity as that of 1989, I would say today would not cause a power outage, because the electric companies have learned (…) to protect the networks. An event of the same intensity as that of 1989, I would tell you today would not cause a power outage, because the electric companies have learned (…) to protect the networksadds the professor.

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He believes it would take an exceptionally intense storm to cause this type of problem.

We will perhaps feel it a little more at the level of communications, GPS, everything related to satellite communications, ultimately he believes.

Experts point out that the intensity of the storm is difficult to predict and depends a lot on the exact timing of the arrival of plasma projections and the fluctuation of their magnetic fields.

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