Northern Lights Dark Side: Solar Storms Could Cause 'Internet Apocalypse,' Knock Out Power

An extremely large and powerful geomagnetic storm that sent Americans on slow country drives looking for northern lights displays

could become more frequent this year as our 4.5 billion-year-old yellow dwarf star reaches “solar maximum,” the mid-point in its roughly 11-year cycle.

Under usual conditions, the curtains of pink, green, red, purple and yellow lights aren’t seen outside of Earth’s polar regions.

But last weekend, the aurora borealis was nothing short of epic, with the dazzling displays widely seen across the Northern Hemisphere and plungint as far south as Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Mexico.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center estimates solar maximum will occur between late 2024 and early 2026. 

That almost certainly means more frequent and intense flares will be spewed from the sun’s hot, hot outer atmosphere more often as the peak approaches.

Geomagnetic storms start with the explosions, or solar flares, of superheated gases that can be as powerful as a billion hydrogen bombs.



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