A 1.2 X-Class solar flare occurred on Tuesday and launched what is called a CME or Coronal Mass Ejection towards the Earth. This CME will be impacting the Earth today through tomorrow causing a Geomagnetic storm. This storming will be border line Severe which means the Aurora or Northern Lights could be visible very far south. Below is a view of the CME and solar flare from Tuesday.
Here’s the current Warning and Watch Text for the Geomagnetic storm.
Space Weather Message Code: WATA50
Serial Number: 48
Issue Time: 2014 Jan 08 1214 UTC
WATCH: Geomagnetic Storm Category G3 Predicted
Highest Storm Level Predicted by Day:
Jan 08: None (Below G1) Jan 09: G3 (Strong) Jan 10: G3 (Strong)
THIS SUPERSEDES ANY/ALL PRIOR WATCHES IN EFFECT
Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
Navigation – Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
Radio – HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.
Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon
Real-Time Aurora Model: Updates Automatically:
What this means:
This Geomagnetic storm will peak tonight or tomorrow at what is called a kP index of between 6-8 which makes Auroras visible almost as far south as North Carolina. Though you never really know until the event unfolds. The green area is where the Aurora is actually located but because it’s so high up in the outer atmosphere the green line shows how far south it might be visible.
I should say sometimes we do get surprised. This picture was from last October in North Carolina with only a kP index of 5.