This week's solar activity report shows a geomagnetic storm watch is in effect between May 18-19. Two Earth-facing sunspots have been identified by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite and could produce storms as early as Tuesday.
NASA designated the sunspots as AR2822 and AR2823 and are Earth-facing.
"Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible on May 18-19 when a pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field.
"The two CMEs left the sun on consecutive days: One from sunspot AR2822 on May 13th, the next from sunspot AR2823 on May 14th.
"Individually, the CMEs appear to be weak and insubstantial; however, they could add up to a geomagnetic storm when they arrive in quick succession this Tuesday."
Sunspots are mostly harmless, but the resulting solar flares that bombard Earth's magnetosphere could produce a stunning light show in the sky as the atmosphere deflects the solar particles. If a geomagnetic disturbance is strong enough, it could disrupt satellite communication, GPS signal, land-based communication equipment, and power grids.
So far, the Planetary K-index (real-time solar activity provided by SolarHam) that measures the intensity of a geomagnetic storm shows lower solar activity on Monday morning but is expected to surge on Tuesday.
SolarHam's Planetary K-index is estimated to jump to 5 on Tuesday.
Expect geomagnetic disturbances at higher latitudes.