Space weather forecasters said the Earth will experience a solar storm today and tomorrow.
It’s the result of a huge hole that’s opened up in the Sun’s corona, with auroras set to cover swaths of the US such as Maine and Washington.
The power networks could be brought to their knees as a result.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the storm is expected to arrive later today.
It has classified the expected solar storm as a G-1 or “minor”.
A spokesperson at the organisation said: “A large hole in the Sun’s atmosphere is facing Earth and sending a stream of solar wind in our direction. Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are likely when the gaseous material arrives on Feb. 27th and 28th. Solar wind speeds could top 500 km/s (1.1 million mph), sparking auroras around the Arctic Circle and possibly even in US states along a line from Maine to Washington.”
It is widely believed solar storms are one of the “biggest threats” to mankind.
They can cause massive problems for power supplies – triggering blackouts that could prove fatal.
They wreak havoc by triggering false alarms in power system equipment – essentially flipping the off switch.
They can also create drag on satellites and planes in low-Earth orbit, overriding the navigation systems and putting them on course corrections.
A huge solar storm buffeted the Earth in 1859 – and one the same size today would ravage our modern society as it’s so dependent on technology.
Anxious space experts have previously warned the public have no idea of the danger they are in.
Brian Gaensler, an astrophysicist at the University of Toronto, gave a stark warning of the carnage solar flares can cause.
“The concern here is that if the radiation from a solar flare hits the earth, it can knock out satellites, disrupt mobile phones, and other forms of communication,” he said.
The effects of a solar storm could last months – or even years – as authorities would have to repair all the damaged infrastructure.
In 2015, the British Government published a report into the risks to the UK of severe space weather.
“It will impact today”
It said an event such as a coronal mass ejection could wreak havoc across the world.
A selection of conspiracy theorists has started claiming that the increase in disastrous natural events like solar storms could be the indication of an imminent apocalypse.
These conspiracy theorists outlandishly argue that these solar events are actually fulfilling biblical prophecies.