Small solar storm coming to Earth but no big light show

X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Credit: NASA

A small solar storm is heading toward Earth, but don't expect a big light show.

Space weather forecaster Jonathan Lash says a that left the sun this week is due to arrive at Earth around 2 p.m. EDT Saturday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist says the flare is too weak and any light show would be limited to Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Norway and other far northern spots.

Lash says the event is unusual but not rare. That's because it is happening during the quiet four-year solar minimum. It's unlikely to cause power or on Earth, nor will many people get a chance to see shimmering auroras.

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Mar 23, 2019
To be pedantic, a solar flare is an electromagnetic manifestation of an event on the Sun and the one responsible for the impending storm arrived here at the speed of light on March 20, 2019 at 11:18 UTC. The storm itself is known as a coronal mass explosion or CME and arrives later. It is important to make this distinction because most flares do not result in CMEs, and most CMEs miss our planet.

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