On March 12, NASA announced that a geomagnetic storm would be hitting Earth between March 14 and 15. While the massive eruption of solar winds is not dangerous to people, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that the storm could affect weak power grids and satellites in space.
A visible side-effect of the solar flares will be an amped-up aurora borealis on Wednesday night into Thursday. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center believes that most of the northern United States will be able to see a portion of the “Northern Lights.” Residents in states like Michigan, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Maine will get the best look at the aurora.
Normally, the best places to watch the Northern Lights in North America are in the northwestern parts of Canada and Alaska. The colorful light show is caused by Earth’s magnetic field funneling the charged particles of solar winds to the north and south poles. When those energized winds interact with the planet’s atmosphere, it creates a stunning glow in the air.
Scientists added that the incoming flares are part of a “Grade 1” storm; the weakest solar eruption possible. A Grade 5 storm can potentially cause radio blackouts for several hours in countries facing the Sun.