WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Three solar flare eruptions, including the strongest since 2006, are set to collide with Earth's magnetic shield Thursday and Friday, British researchers say.
Large solar flares, such as the "coronal mass ejections" of charged solar particles due to reach Earth during the two-day period, can disrupt technology, including power grids, communications systems and satellites, the BBC reported.
One result, a British researcher says, is that the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, may be visible further south than is normally the case.
"In the scientific community, there's a feeling that it's not as intense as we first thought it might be," Alan Thomson, head of geomagnetism at the British Geological Survey, said. "But it's possible still that it could be a large enough event for us to see the northern lights in the United Kingdom."
The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said three coronal mass ejections were headed toward Earth as the result of solar flares on Feb. 13, 14 and 15.
The flare recorded Feb. 15 was the strongest such event in four years, NASA said. The event was classified as a so-called X-flare, the most intense type.
Researchers say the sun has begun showing more of these solar flare events after a period of several years of low activity.