A strong solar flare is making its way to Earth, but the worst of its power looks like it will barely skim above the planet. A "strong" solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could cause some fluctuations in Earth's power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions on Friday and Saturday.
Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was classified as an "X-class" flare, which is at the high end of the solar flare scale. Wednesday's flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.
It has been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. The flare on the sun barely hits the "extreme" on forecasters' scale, but with its worst effects missing Earth it is only looking "potentially strong" at most when it arrives at Earth as a solar storm, he said.
New calculations from satellite data show that the worst of the energetic particles streaming from the sun likely will go north or above Earth this time, Berger said late Wednesday.
So while the power grid may see fluctuations because the storm will cause changes in Earth's magnetic field, it won't knock power systems off line, Berger said. It may cause slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions but nothing major.
more details at SolarHam.com
Updated 09/11/2014 @ 11:50 UTC
Info from ABC, USA Today, SolarHam.com