PEORIA, Ill. (Heart of Illinois) - As Central Illinois was preparing for severe weather here on the surface of Earth Monday, there was another storm brewing a little farther away. A geomagnetic storm occurred Monday and into Tuesday morning and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association graded it a "G2" on their scale, which is a moderate storm.
Geomagnetic storms occur when an area of the sun's surface drops in temperature compared to its surroundings. This causes some turbulence on the surface of the star and particles are shot out into the solar system.
"Particles from the Sun is what causes the Aurora, the northern and southern lights, and it can affect our satellites and it could affect our energy grid, and electronic fear on earth so there is reason to be aware of geomagnetic storms." Said Renae Kerrigan, Curator and Planetarium Director at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. She went on to say that a major storm has not happened for over 100 years. A major storm would be closer to the top of the scale, which is "G5."
Kerrigan also told us that geomagnetic storms are something to be aware of but usually not anything to have significant fear in its occurrence. They can, and have affected some communication systems and the electrical grid, but these impacts are often short-lived.
Usually when these storms occur the Northern and Southern Lights are visible a bit farther away from the poles.