NASA has warned that a huge solar flare now developing could cause
a dangerous solar storm that could disrupt electrical grids on Earth.
At present NASA is estimating a 15% chance that sunspot region
AR 1678 may generate an X-class solar flare as it rotates toward
Earth over the next 48 hours.

At present, the sunspot region is at least six times the size of Earth,
and is growing rapidly. It has developed what is known as a delta class
magnetic field, which is a type that can generate strong solar storms.
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New research suggests solar storms could become more disruptive within decades, affecting things from cell phones to airplanes and spacecraft. In BBC News, Judith Burns quotes space physicist Mike Lockwood was saying, "All the evidence suggests that the Sun will shortly exit from a grand solar maximum that has persisted since before the start of the space age.
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A near X-class solar flare that erupted on the sun on August 3rd has sent a powerful coronal mass ejection toward earth which has overtaken two previous CMEs and combined with them. Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab believe that the combined triple-CME will reach earth around 6 AM US Pacific Time on August 5th, give or take a 7 hour window.
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Solar activity reaches its height every 11 years, when solar flare erupt solar flares erupt near sunspots daily. Coronal mass ejections, composed of billion-ton clouds of magnetized gas, fly away from the Sun and hit the surrounding planets. The Sun?s magnetic field, which is as large as the solar system itself, becomes unstable and reverses. This is known as a Solar Max. The most recent Solar Max reached its height in mid-2000. Sunspot counts were higher than they had been in 10 years, and solar activity was intense. One eruption on July 14, 2000 caused brilliant auroras as far south as Texas, along with electrical brown-outs. It temporarily disabled some satellites.
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