Geomagnetic Storm Watch Issued | NBC4 Washington

Geomagnetic Storm Watch Issued

Blast of radiation to hit Earth

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NASA
    Radiation storm on the surface of the sun.

    The National Weather Service is watching the cloud for a different type of storm on Tuesday.

    Scientists are tracking the strongest Solar Radiation Storm since October of 2003.

    A blast of solar radiation called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) reached earth around 9 a.m. CME's are caused when strong magnetic fields surrounding the surface of the sun suddenly release bubbles of gas and magnetic fields, according to NASA. 

    The Goddard Space Weather Center says the solar flare was speeding towards Earth at 1,400 miles per second.

    Solar storms can cause disruptions in high-frequency radio communications and GPS navigation.  NOAA says that passengers in high-flying aircraft are also at risk for elevated radiation exposure.  Outside the atmosphere, satellites and other orbiting spacecraft are at risk for equipment malfunction.

    As a precaution, some airlines have diverted flights away from the North Pole, where energetic particles enter the Earth's atmosphere.

    Around 9:30 a.m., the NWS Space Weather Center said instruments aboard a spacecraft orbiting 1.5 million km away from Earth had been impacted by the radiation blast, and had some of its instruments disrupted.

    The NWS says to expect geomagnetic storms affecting the Earth until the end of the day Tuesday.

    For more information from NASA, click here.

    Video of the storm on the sun's surface, via Space.com: