A GIANT fissure has opened across the Sun and is spewing rapid solar winds toward our planet.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory got wind of the massive hole on Friday morning.
This coronal hole is a vast region where the Sun’s magnetic field tears apart, allowing solar wind to escape.
Super-charged solar winds flowing from the Sun’s atmosphere are expected to reach Earth on April 23 or 24.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this could whip up a “moderately strong” geomagnetic storm.
What is a solar storm?
Solar flares shoot charged particles which can reach as far as Earth.
Our planet has a natural protection against them, including our magnetic field and an atmosphere that blocks most.
But they can directly affect communications and radio transmissions, sparking concerns that they could wreak havoc on modern civilisation.
They are also particularly dangerous for airline pilots and astronauts, who could be susceptible to radiation during a storm.
One of the most spectacular consequences is an aurora, like the Northern Lights.
When the charged particles hit our magnetic field, their glow is turned into the colourful streaks seen across the sky.
These kinds of storms are behind the beautiful natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights.
But a storm of this magnitude could have an effect on power grids and navigation systems across the Earth’s surface.
G2 storms affect plane and military radio systems, spacecraft operations and could trigger voltage alarms or cause equipment damage in power systems.
Scientists are growing increasingly concerned over the effect a solar explosion, flare or storm could have on humanity.
Our growing dependence on technology puts humans at a greater risk if power grids, planes and satellites stop working.
US president Barack Obama was forced to issue a chilling warning to the nation in preparation for devastating space weather storms earlier this year.
He said: “Extreme space weather events – those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure – could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.
“Space weather has the potential to simultaneously affect and disrupt health and safety across entire continents.”
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