We don’t yet know when or where the highly charged ejecta from a solar eruption yesterday will hit Earth, but we know it will. The flare, rated X-1 on the solar weather forecaster’s scale, is rated “extreme” – but only just.
Forecasters don’t yet know when the solar storm – which erupted from the Sun’s surface late Wednesday – will arrive here or which part of the planet will be facing the brunt of the effects. It could arrive as early as this afternoon Australian time, or may take a few days.
Scientists will have a better idea after they get more satellite data. Solar flares in the “extreme” scale can cause geomagnetic storms capable of bringing down power grids, damaging satellites and disrupting radio transmissions. More often, the only effect is to brighten the auroras over the north and southern hemispheres.