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Huge solar storm could affect satellite signals

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BOULDER, Colo. - Forecasters at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo., have spotted a huge solar flare which is producing a strong geomagnetic storm that could affect satellite communications and the electrical grid beginning Friday.

Scientists "observed two dynamic areas of the sun, one of which has produced a coronal mass ejection, or CME, Wednesday morning at 3 a.m. EDT that appears to be Earth-directed," says the NOAA release.

The forecasters are predicting a strong geomagnetic storm that should reach Earth on Friday, October 24.

The CME developed rapidly over the past three days and is now one of the largest sunspot clusters ever seen, says the NOAA. The cluster (pictured) is about 10 times larger than the Earth.

"Further major eruptions are possible from these active regions as they rotate across the face of the sun over the next two weeks," said the release. "Satellite and other spacecraft operations, power systems, high frequency communications, and navigation systems may experience disruptions over this two-week period."

The source of the storm (that cluster of dots is 10 times the size of the earth) from the NOAA web site.

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