Northern Lights could be visible in Britain due to a large solar storm which has already disturbed radio communications in China and could disrupt electrical power grids and satellites worldwide.
On the plus side, the largest solar storm in four years means we could all catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights – visible as rippling green, blue or pink curtains of light filling in night sky – officially named aurora borealis.
The British Geological Society said: “Displays of the Northern Lights have already been seen further south than usual in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK.
Experts say that more sightings of the Northern Lights are likely over the next 48 hours.
The lights are caused by massive solar flares, the largest registered for several years.
“Since February 13 three energetic solar flares have erupted on the sun and spewed clouds of charged plasma called coronal mass ejections (CMEs) out towards the earth,” the British Geological Society said.
“Two CMEs are expected to arrive in the next 24-48 hours and further [Northern Lights] displays are possible some time over the next two nights if skies are clear.”
The British Geological Society also warned that the solar storm could interfere with satellites and electrical networks.
A massive sunspot, which astronomers say is the size of Jupiter – classified as Class X – erupted on Tuesday, according to NASA.
“X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said.
On a more worrying (but kind of exciting) note, astronomers are predicting that a solar cycle known as Solar maximum will hit with full force in 2012, could be one of the most damaging on record.
Similar solar storms in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale, but the potential for damage in today’s digital era is far greater.