Sunspots seen in Spain as geomagnetic storm expected to reach Earth
The geomagnetic storm's intensity would probably be moderate or strong, levels one of two on a five-level scale, five being the most extreme, according to U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Tourists gathered at Ronda's viewpoint to observe the sun.
Geomagnetic storms are disturbances of the Earth's magnetic field, lasting from several hours to several days, according to Spain's National Geographic Institute (IGN).
They are external in origin and are caused by an abrupt increase in particles emitted in solar flares that reach the magnetosphere, producing disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field.
Solar flares may affect positioning systems, navigation systems or communication satellites.
A massive solar flare, or coronal mass ejection (CME), was spotted on the sun Saturday (Oct. 9) on its Earth-facing side and the flare hit our planet on Oct. 11. This event comes as Earth enters a period of heightened solar activity known as the solar maximum (solar activity increases and decreases about every 11 years.) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned that the storm would be a category G2 event, which is moderately strong.
Solar storms of this magnitude cause disruptions in power grids and more. But they can also spark a magnificent aurora, a natural light show that's typically only seen in high-latitude regions near the north or south poles. But this storm was so powerful that it was visible as far south as New York and as far across the United States as Wisconsin and Washington state, NOAA reported.