News, Oregon, Weather

Massive solar eruptions could hit Earth starting Friday

Over the last few days, a series of coronal mass ejections (CME) have erupted from the Sun, and are likely to merge and reach Earth starting Friday or Saturday, said the Space Weather Prediction Center, a center housed within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

As a result, the center issued a Severe (G4) Geomagnetic Storm Watch, the first such watch since 2005.

“At least five earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were observed,” the agency said.

If the Earth is impacted, what could result is a called a geomagnetic storm.

“Watches at this level are very rare,” the center said.

The aurora could become visible for much of the northern United States, the center said, noting that areas as far south as northern California could see it.

Geomagnetic storms at a G5 level in 2003 damaged power transformers in South Africa and knocked out power in Sweden.

Read more about CMEs here.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory coronagraph view of the July 23, 2012 CME. Frames cover July 22-24. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO
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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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