Geomagnetic storm sends 5 coronal mass ejections to Earth : Short Wave Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observed a cluster of sunspots on the surface of the sun this week. With them came solar flares that kicked off a severe geomagnetic storm. That storm is expected to last throughout the weekend as at least five coronal mass ejections — chunks of the sun — are flung out into space, towards Earth! NOAA uses a five point scale to rate these storms, and this weekend's storm is a G4. It's expected to produce auroras as far south as Alabama. To contextualize this storm, we are looking back at the largest solar storm on record: the Carrington Event.

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NOAA Issues First Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch Since 2005

NOAA Issues First Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch Since 2005

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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a strong solar flare on May 8, 2024. The Wednesday solar flares kicked off the geomagnetic storm happening this weekend. NASA/SDO hide caption

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NASA/SDO

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a strong solar flare on May 8, 2024. The Wednesday solar flares kicked off the geomagnetic storm happening this weekend.

NASA/SDO

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center observed a cluster of sunspots on the surface of the sun this week. With them came solar flares that kicked off a severe geomagnetic storm. That storm is expected to last throughout the weekend as at least five coronal mass ejections — chunks of the sun — are flung out into space, towards Earth! NOAA uses a five point scale to rate these storms, and this weekend's storm is a G4. It's expected to produce auroras as far south as Alabama. To contextualize this storm, we are looking back at the largest solar storm on record: the Carrington Event.

Want us to cover more about the sun? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

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The update to this episode was produced and edited by Rebecca Ramirez. Regina G. Barber checked the facts. Ko Takasugi-Czernowin was the audio engineer.