Image from GEOS-16 shows the solar flare at lower left. Courtesy NOAA

The Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado warned Friday that a giant solar flare accompanied by an ejection of solar particles could affect the Earth on Saturday and Sunday.

The center, a part of the National Weather Service, said the flare and “coronal mass ejection” occurred around 8:35 a.m. on Thursday. Cameras on the GOES-16 satellite captured the eruption on the Sun.

“The event is predicted to be a strong geomagnetic storm arriving at Earth,” the center advised, prompting a “geomagnetic storm watch” through Halloween night. 

The center said the impact of a storm of this magnitude is “generally nominal,” but precautionary advisories were issued to power grids, satellite operators and airlines.

GPS navigation could be effected, and the aurora could be seen as far south as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oregon.

Space meteorologists said the DSCOVR satellite, which is in a special orbit between the Earth and Sun, will detect any dangerous storm about an hour before it reaches us, allowing time for warnings.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.