An “erupting filament of magnetism” has been spewed into the solar system by the Sun at 328 kilometres per second, and it could collide with Earth. The solar storm has been caused by a swirling pool of magnetism beneath the surface of the Sun, known as a sunspot.
Sunspots are dark patches on the Sun which are typically cooler than the rest of the star.
When experts say they are ‘cooler’, the average temperature of a sunspot still exceeds 3,500 degrees Celsius – although this is a drop from the average Sun surface of 5,500C.
They are typically cooler as sunspots are areas of strong magnetic fields.
The magnetism is so strong that it actually keeps some of the heat from escaping.
However, as the magnetic field builds, it increases pressure in the sunspot which can erupt as a solar flare or coronal mass ejection (CME).
The incoming CME could glance Earth tomorrow, or on May 13, astronomers have said.
When it does, it could lead to issues for technology that relies on satellites.
Space enthusiasts have said it could spark a G1 class geomagnetic storm.
A solar storm of this power can lead to “weak power grid fluctuations” and can have a “minor impact on satellite operations”.
This is because, as particles bombard Earth’s magnetic shield, it causes it to expand which makes it harder for satellite signals to penetrate.
Astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on his Space Weather site: “A CME is coming. Hurled toward Earth by an erupting filament of magnetism on May 9, the solar storm cloud is expected to arrive on May 12 or 13.
“This is not an especially fast or powerful CME, but it could spark G1-class geomagnetic storms and auroras at high latitudes.”