The geomagnetic storm predicted by the NOAA Space Environment Center hit the
Earth’s magnetic field at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Friday. It is currently at the
strong G-3 level on the NOAA space weather scales — the highest being a G5. The

solar particles and energy produced as a result of this storm can produce
effects for many hours, so there is a possibility of seeing the aurora borealis
or northern lights in the northern latitudes Friday night.

Two very large sun spot regions continue to maintain their size and magnetic
intensity. There have been three major flares in the last 24 hours, which caused

considerable disruption of high frequency communication. More large flares are
expected in the next few days.

Click on image for 376K MPEG. Note large explosion on 23 Oct.

"So far this storm is materializing as expected," said NOAA space weather
forecaster Bill Murtagh. NOAA forecasters predicted the onset of the magnetic
storm to occur midday Friday. The magnitude the of G-3 level storm is also in
line with NOAA predictions.

NOAA thus far has not received any reports of the storm’s effects.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the

prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing
environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is
part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites

* NOAA Space Environment Center

* NOAA Space Weather Scales

* Latest SOHO images

Image from the SOHO spacecraft of the intense solar activity on the sun taken
Oct. 24, 2003, at 10:24 a.m. EDT. Credit: SOHO