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a massive solar flare is due to hit earth today and could cause havoc for power grids and bringing the northern latitudes.

An alert published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ) informed that we should expect "weak power grid fluctuations" and satellite “ orientation irregularities ” which could increase drag on craft in low Earth orbit.

The geomagnetic storm could reach category G2, which is moderately strong according to the agency.

'minor storms may continue into 12 october.

the met office said : "aurora is possible through 11th across much of scotland, although cloud amounts are increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely.

"There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but cloud breaks and therefore sightings are more likely in Northern Ireland."

"A Coronal Mass Ejection ( CME ) involves the emis­sion of electrically charged matter and accompany­ing magnetic field into space.

The NOAA has issued a warning (Image: NOAA)

When it hits the earth, it interacts with the earth's magnetic field and produces Geomagnetically Induced Currents ( GIC ) on the crust," said Dr Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, from the University of California, Irvine and VMware Research.

'event analysis and model output suggest cme arrival around midday on 11 oct, with lingering effects persisting into 12 oct,' noaa says on its website.

the biggest solar storm on record occurred in 1859.

The Carrington Event left an aurora visible across the sky, even in latitudes much closer to the equator, and was described in contemporary reports as even brighter than the light of a full moon.

A solar eruption rises above the surface of the sun. Pictured is the relative size of Earth. These dramatic storms, caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun, hurtle towards Earth, potentially causing widespread devastation

It is known as a "Halo CME", as flares that are heading directly for Earth can be observed as a halo around the sun.

Solar storms are rated on a scale from G1 to G5 – with one being the weakest and five having the most potential for damage.

"High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms.

Possible effects of the solar storm, caused by the CME, are power grid fluctuations and orientation irregularities for spacecraft in the form of 'increased drag' on low-Earth orbiters.

Solar storms are seen after coronal mass ejections from the Sun (Image: GETTY)

The Sun is the primary cause of space weather.

"So far this year, dozens of CMEs have missed Earth.

It comes less than a month after scientists warned that a solar storm has the potential to unleash a devastating "Internet apocalypse".

"In this paper, we investigate the impact of solar superstorms that can potentially cause large-scale Internet outages covering the entire globe and lasting several months.

Solar flares can damage satellites and have an enormous financial cost. The charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing the Earth's magnetic field

Major solar storms have lashed the planet in the past but these occurred before the advent of the Internet, satellite technology and high-speed communications.

The aurora – a natural light display in Earth's sky, also known as the Northern Lights – may also be visible as low as New York in the US and the north of England in the UK.

It emits gigantic flares, bursts of powerful electromagnetic radiation – x-rays, gamma rays and radio bursts – accompanied by streams of highly energetic particles.

If such an event were to happen in today's world, the effects would be catastrophic.

Aurora borealis in Lapland, Finland, around Levi town. In the north the display is known as the aurora borealis, and in the south it is called the aurora australis

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