Solar storm hurtling at 1,800,000kph to hit Earth and ‘could impact satellites’

A solar storm travelling at 1.8 million km per hour will hit Earth on Sunday (May 2) with enough force to potentially cause disruption to satellite networks.

Researchers spotted a hole in the sun’s atmosphere that is erupting solar particles into space at 500km a second, causing a solar storm.

The stream of particles is on a direct collision course with Earth, and is due to hit on Sunday May 2, the Express writes.

It has been labelled a G1 class storm which can lead to “weak power grid fluctuations” and can have a “minor impact on satellite operations”.

But this storm is relatively insignificant as solar flares go and is a regular occurrence.

The sun regularly erupts flares into space, and the vast majority are harmless to Earth.

Nonetheless, the sun is fully capable of producing solar flares that could cripple human’s technology, and experts have warned that an occurrence like this is a matter of “when, not if”.

The last major solar storm to hit the Earth happened in 1989, and caused power outages in Quebec.

This could have been caused by conductive rocks on the Earth ploughing the excess energy into the national grid, overwhelming it.

An intense solar storm can also down satellite systems, as the bombardment of solar particles can expand Earth's magnetosphere, which makes it more difficult for satellite signals to get through.

While it is impossible to predict when and where a huge solar storm might hit, it is inevitable one will hit the planet in the future.

As such, experts have bemoaned the lack of preparation for an extreme space weather event, warning that it could cost trillions and cause widespread panic.

Risk consultancy firm Drayton Tyler said: "A solar superstorm is a ‘when, not if’ event.

"In the worst case, the direct and indirect costs are likely to run into trillions of dollars with a recovery time of years rather than months.

"The probability of an event of that size happening is estimated by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering as one in 10 in any decade."

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