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Solar storm 2012: Earth bracing for massive solar storm

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The biggest solar storm in 5 years is racing toward Earth.

A large solar storm racing toward Earth is moving at a speed of 4 million mph. (Photo: NASA/Associated Press)

A massive cloud of charged particles is expected to arrive sometime this morning and could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas.

According to NASA, these solar flares are explosive events that are part of the sun’s normal eleven year cycle.

On Tuesday, the sun erupted with the second-largest flare of this solar cycle and scientists say those particles will be moving at 4 million mph.

"We are at least able to tell you this is coming towards us, beware,” said Lisa Guhathakurta, NASA sun scientist. “Keep watching. Don’t get hysterical."

While officials say there’s no need to panic, according to NASA, there could be cause for concern.

The storms could shake the Earth’s magnetic field, disrupting satellite communication, including you GPS devices and possibly causing power or phone outages.

“You could have radio blackout," Guhathakurta added.

The flare could also interfere with flights.

"It's prudent at a time like this to reroute aircraft,” said Dr. Ed Krupp, Griffith Observatory Director. “We know that GPS and satellites are vulnerable and so they wind up skirting farther south trying to stay away from where the major numbers of particles happens to be.”

The solar storm is expected to end on Friday.

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