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Major solar storm to reach Earth Wednesday
Posted: Wed, Oct 29, 2003, 7:55 AM ET (1255 GMT)
Solar flare seen on 2001 April 15 One of the biggest solar flares ever recorded erupted on the Sun Tuesday, triggering a potentially huge solar storm scheduled to reach the Earth Wednesday. The flare, an X17.2 on the scale of solar flare magnitudes, was spotted by the NASA/ESA SOHO spacecraft at 6:10 am EST (1110 GMT) Tuesday. The flare is the second-biggest observed by SOHO, and triggered a moderate radiation event that caused the crew of the International Space Station to briefly seek shelter in the heavier-shielded Russian section of the station five times on Tuesday. The storm of particles created by the flare is expected to reach Earth around 12 pm EST (1700 GMT) Wednesday. NOAA predicts the ensuing geomagnetic storm will measure a G4 on the G1-G5 scale, with the possibility of some periods of G5 activity. This storm has the potential to disrupt communications and power grids, damage satellites, and create auroral displays as far south as the southern US.
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