How terrifying SPACE STORMS could strike Earth with just 15 MINUTES notice | Science | News

The world could have just 15 minutes warning to prepare for a brutal storm before it struck the Earth, with tough consequences.

A direct hit from a space storm could plunge the globe into darkness, wiping out electricity supplies worldwide.

Weather forecasters are given a small window to predict when a space storm will hit.

Catherine Burnett, manager of the Met Office’s space weather programme, told the : “Coronal mass ejections can travel in any direction from the Sun.

“If they heading our way their size means they would completely engulf the Earth.

“It takes a significant coronal mass ejection 19 hours to travel to the Earth. But once we have seen a coronal mass ejection leave the Sun we still will not know until 15 minutes before it reaches Earth what its magnetic orientation is and if we will see any impact.

“We don’t get a very large forecast window to know there is something on the way.”

Space storms can be harmless and are commonly seen on Earth as they cause the Northern Lights.

However storms of a higher magnitude could put power and navigation systems out of service across the globe.

Aircraft and military radio systems and spacecraft operations could also be disrupted by a bigger space storm.

It could also trigger voltage alarms of cause equipment damage in power systems.

The most powerful type of space storm is called a coronal mass ejection (CME), which can send billions of tons of matter through space at over 7 million miles per hour.

The storms are typically associated with solar flares, explosions on the surface of the sun that send heat and light hurtling through space.

They modify the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, affecting our technology in ways that could be potentially disastrous.

Weather in space is largely unpredictable – meaning we would have almost no time to prepare for a terrifying space storm that could devastate the planet.

However a new programme to be launched by NASA next year is set to go closer to the sun than ever before, helping to forecast space storms with more accuracy than ever before.

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