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Why your Sky and mobile signal might die this weekend

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David Cornish
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Tomorrow's weather outlook according to the MET office: highs of 18 degrees with cloudy skies and a gentle western breeze.

Tomorrow's space weather outlook according to Space Weather Live: LOADS OF AWESOME AURORA ACTIVITY AND SOLAR WINDS!

Why? A "massive" coronal hole - a darker patch of low density plasma on the surface of the Sun that chucks out a heap of solar wind and radiation - has rolled around the Sun and is currently pointing its ugly visage toward our planet. It looks like this.

Before you start frantically digging yourself a pit and lining it with led - fear not. Our atmosphere protects us from any of the nasty cosmic radiation cause by solar winds given off by solar spots like this. What it can result in is some seriously annoying geomagnetic storms that cause havoc with our satellite systems - momentarily mucking up signals to things like Sky boxes and mobile phones. Such is the danger presented by 'Coronal Mass Ejections' of this type that the Obama administration set out in 2015 to form a plan of what would happen if space weather knocked out key infrastructure - which you can read here.

While fluctuating reception is a right pain in the arse ("Mum? Are you going through a tunnel? No, I can't hear you... Mum? This is rubbish, I'll text you.") one thing that this space weather does result in as amazing Northern Lights - the aurora waves that cascade through polar skies when charged particles in solar winds smack into our upper atmosphere and give off their energy. Those in the north of the UK (namely Scotland) should keep an eye out on northern skies over the next few nights to catch a glimpse of this magnetic party.

These are some of the incredible light shows that have already been sparked by the Sun's current massive coronal hole. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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