The huge solar storm that NASA detected hurtling toward Earth hit our planet at 5:42 a.m. EST Thursday. So far, there have been no reports of major power or communications disruptions. The storm’s magnetic fields are oriented in a way that’s “been opposite of what is needed to cause the strongest storming,” says the Space Weather Prediction Center.
The main effect of this storm – the largest in five years – may only be to paint colorful auroras across the night skies. But it’s not the last you’ll hear about “Solar Flares Speeding Toward Earth,” as mentioned earlier this week. The sun is currently in a very active phase, and it won’t peak until 2013, according to NASA. This week’s large solar flares, and a similar episode in late January, have sparked a lot of curiosity about the phenomena and led some to worry about how they might disrupt life on Earth.