FLYING Magazine

Pilots who rely on GPS, also known as “the magenta line” for navigation may have a difficult time getting around this weekend as geomagnetic disruptions in the Earth’s atmosphere may create “satellite disruptions” that could impact GPS navigation among other things.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), space weather forecasters have observed “at least seven coronal mass ejections [CMEs] from the sun, with impacts expected to arrive on Earth as early as midday Friday, May 10, and persist through Sunday, May 12.”

The agency has issued a Severe (G4) Geomagnetic Storm Watch and states these watches will be updated through the weekend.

First G4 (Severe) geomagnetic since 2005 has been issued.

The aurora tonight (5/10) /tomorrow morning (5/11) may become visible over much of the northern half of the country, & possibly as far south as Alabama to northern California. https://t.co/upPlNYuNev@NWSSWPC @NWS pic.twitter.com/JTHmXtRKOc

— NOAA (@NOAA) May 10, 2024

According to NOAA, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are explosions of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s corona. These storms can disrupt satellites and infrastructure in near-Earth orbit, “potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, [and] radio and satellite operations.”

Aurora Forecast [Courtesy: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center]

The agency refers to the situation as “an unusual and potentially historic event” and warns satellite navigation (GPS) may be degraded or inoperable for hours, and high frequency radio propagation could be sporadic or blacked out.

These storms are also visible from the Earth as displays of aurora and  may result in displays being seen as far south as Alabama.

This is a developing story.

READ MORE: How to see the northern lights: Tonight may be the best chance in years

WATCH: NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite captured activity at sunspot AR3664 at around 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday

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