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Solar storm not as big as predicted

Staff writers
March 8, 2012 — Two massive solar flares -- ranked as X-class storms, the most powerful -- erupted this week on the Sun. Still, the result wasn't as dramatic as anticipated.

Two solar flares erupted on the sun on Tuesday
Two solar flares erupted on the sun on Tuesday

Two solar flares up that erupted on the sun Tuesday didn't cause quite the storm that was expected.  

Some experts believe the threat from the solar storm has passed, but space weather forecasters say it's still too early to tell.

There is a chance that the storm's effects could continue and intensify through Friday morning.  

"Thankfully it looks like earth did dodge a bullet with this massive solar storm since there hasn't been any really major recorded disruptions in power and communications." says astromoner Andrew Fazekas.  

The storm started with several solar flares erupting off the sun earlier this week. Forecasters were predicting a strong solar storm with the potential to knock electrical grids offline and harm satellites.  However, when the storm arrived Thursday morning, it was more of a magnetic breeze than a gale. 

Solar storms can also bring additional radiation around the north and south poles.  This sometimes forces airlines to reroute flights.  

Back in 1989, a strong solar storm knocked out the power grid in Quebec leaving 6 million people without power.  

North America does get to experience the good part of solar storm.  The storm creates more noticeable auroras or Northern lights.

"Watch for Northern lights across Canada, especially outside of city limits where the skies are darker," says Fazekas. 

You can expect to see the lights from nightfall Thursday evening into the predawn skies on Friday morning.  

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