BOULDER, Colo. (NEWSnet/AP) — Weather forecasters have issued a geomagnetic storm watch through Monday. An ouburst of plasma from a solar flare could interfere with radio transmissions on Earth.

It also could bring good aurora-viewing.

There's no reason for concern, according to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.


The storm could interrupt high-frequency radio transmission, such as by aircraft trying to communicate with distant traffic control towers. Most commercial aircraft can use satellite transmission as backup, said Jonathan Lash, a forecaster at the center.

Satellite operators might have trouble tracking their spacecraft, and power grids could show some “induced current” in their lines, Lash said.

“For the general public, if you have clear skies at night and you are at higher latitudes, this would be a great opportunity to see the skies light up,” Lash said.


Those expecting to have a good view include those near Fairbanks, Alaska, the the National Weather Service said.

Every 11 years, the sun's magnetic field flips, meaning its north and south poles switch positions. Solar activity changes during that cycle, and it's now near its most active, called the solar maximum.

During such times, geomagnetic storms can hit Earth a few times each year, Lash said. At solar minimum, a few years may pass between storms.

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