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Giant Solar Flare Headed to Earth

(NEWSMAX) - A giant solar flare spotted by scientists is expected to reach Earth on Wednesday, but a near-miss with our planet should cause only minimal interruptions, The Sun reports.


Solar flares, known to scientists as a coronal mass ejection (CME), move through space, and if they hit the Earth's magnetic field cause solar storms, which vary in severity.


According to Spaceweather.com, "Another CME is heading for Earth, and it's a little off target. A glancing blow (or near miss) is possible during the late hours of March 23rd, according to NOAA forecasters."


Wednesday's event, which is a "minor G1-class geomagnetic storm," will be the third time in the past week that a CME "almost" landed a direct hit, according to the website.


"Even a near miss can produce bright Arctic auroras," Spaceweather.com said.


A minor G1 storm can cause weak power grid fluctuations and have small impacts on satellite communications, according to The Sun. Such storms also can confuse animals that use the Earth's magnetic field for migration.


The Sun is starting a new 11-year solar cycle in which such large flares are common. If they hit the Earth directly, they can knock out communications or power grids for long periods of time.

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