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Chill out: Massive solar storm story mostly hype

A story has been circulating on social media and even on mainstream media sites claiming a huge solar storm was coming. Here's the thing -- it's mainly false.

A story has been circulating on social media and even on mainstream media sites claiming a huge solar storm was coming. Here’s the thing -- it’s mainly false.

There is indeed a 55% chance of a G1 scale Geomagnetic storm over the next 48 hours. This isn’t big at all; in fact, it’s the lowest on the scale for Geomantic storms.

These are so common that, on average, we have 155 G1 type storms a year. You can see below what the G-storm scale looks like and means.

So here’s what’s going on. A large coronal hole has emerged on the surface of the sun. These are normal as well, but one this size is very rare. Coronal holes appear, in various shapes and forms, several times each month, so again, not odd or unusual.

I’m not sure why this story became so hyped but it appears to trace back to conspiracy websites, and it just took off.

If a large solar storm were to occur, I can assure you it would be a big deal and likely have far reaching impacts on our modern technologies, likely stopping power grids, cell phones and GPS.

The other cool impacts would be seeing the Northern Lights very far South, even in the Carolinas. The last time that happened was back in 2011.

So you can relax -- this is more hype than anything to worry about. If we ever have the threat for a large geomagnetic storm, trust me, I’ll be talking about on TV and online.