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Biggest Solar Flare In 4 Years Headed Toward Earth

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- Any time a blast from the sun will reach the earth. It’s the result of the largest solar flare from the sun in 4 years.

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder knew sunspots could produce the solar eruption which happened on Monday.

“Right here is a halo of a cloud that has been ejected from the sun,” said Solar Weather Forecaster David Marshall.

“This tells us that there is a piece of the sun’s atmosphere that had blasted off the sun and it’s headed towards us,” said NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center physicist Terry Onsager.space Biggest Solar Flare In 4 Years Headed Toward Earth

He said Monday’s coronal mass ejection comes from the biggest solar flare in 4 years. The cloud of plasma is traveling about 2 million miles an hour, that’s twice as fast as the usual solar wind.

“We’re expecting it any minute or any hour now,” said Onsager.

A big solar eruption could cause trouble in the power grid and pipelines, air traffic and satellite navigation. Disruptions in those services aren’t expected with the medium-sized storm.

“We’re expecting this to be a moderate event and so there will likely be currents generated in the power grid that are higher than background, but not high enough to be hazardous,” said Onsager. “There may be a low-level change in GPS signals, some change in the accuracy, but no, we do not expect power outages from this level.”

Forecasters said more solar storms are likely in the next several years as a cycle of more active solar weather picks up and peaks 2 years from now.

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