A massive solar storm is headed towards Earth at high speed and is expected to hit the planet's upper atmosphere today, and tomorrow.

The Space Weather Prediction Centre of the United States has warned that the flare might impact satellites, GPS navigation, mobile phone signals, satellite TV, and power grids in some parts of the world.

A solar flare happens when massive amounts of energy stored in the Sun's magnetic fields are suddenly released. The ensuing radiations, containing radio waves, x-rays and gamma rays, are then hurtled across the length and breadth of the universe at high speed.

NASA has reported that the flare is travelling towards Earth at a velocity of 1.6 million km/h, and its speed could increase more as it nears the planet.

Experts also fear that the strong winds may trigger a geomagnetic storm in Earth's magnetosphere.

Last week, the Sun ejected a powerful X-class solar flare - the biggest observed in four years, which ionized the top of Earth's atmosphere, and caused a shortwave radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean.

It is not all doom and gloom, however. On the bright side, people living near the North or South Pole will get to view brilliant displays of Aurora lights.

Source: livemint.com, India Today
Photo source: India Today via NASA