Around 2:39 p.m. EDT Monday, a strong solar storm slammed into the Earth, the Storm Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) said.
The SWPC said the storm rapidly strengthened into "severe" G4 levels by 2:58 p.m. Geomagnetic storms are measured on a five-point scale and according to the SWPC, the severity of a G4 level storm can mean tracking problems for spacecraft operations, widespread voltage control problems for powers systems, disruptions to low-frequency radio navigation and a reduction in quality for satellite navigation.
The storm is expected to last into Tuesday, the SWPC said. The G4 intensity is the same as the solar storm that occurred back in March 2015.
Aurora displays will also be common across clear, dark skies in parts of the northern US.
"Some people across the Great Lakes may miss out on the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights due to clouds streaming across the regions," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada.
Heads up (literally!): We have a great chance of seeing the #aurora tonight! #mtwx #idwx #Montana #Idaho pic.twitter.com/HnHmz6hFSG— NWS Missoula (@NWSMissoula) June 23, 2015
According to the SWPC, a geomagnetic storm is a "disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth."
Astronaut Scott Kelly, who is spending the year in space at the International Space Station, tweeted out this vivid image of a red aurora earlier Monday.
The summit crew watching the #AuroraBorealis at #dusk. #aurora #nhwx #nightsky #viewing pic.twitter.com/6B9wERGBeL— MWObservatory (@MWObs) June 23, 2015
I've never seen this before- red #aurora. Spectacular! #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/j2DVejt974— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 22, 2015
What are #geomagnetic storms? This link & image explains: http://t.co/QuJjSHH97Q & http://t.co/e4ZOwIrJ7Z via @NWS pic.twitter.com/d5o5cQN2s7— NOAA (@NOAA) June 22, 2015
RT @ericfisher: #Aurora in MA! RT @cleantechvc Northern lights, as seen from Salem Harbor cc @ericfisher pic.twitter.com/8kc3rHN64u— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) June 23, 2015