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Biggest Solar Storm In Years Races Toward Earth

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This 19 August, 2004 NASA Solar and Heliospheric Administration image shows a solar flare erupting from giant sunspot 649. (Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images)

This 19 August, 2004 NASA Solar and Heliospheric Administration image shows a solar flare erupting from giant sunspot 649. (Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Earth’s magnetic field is about to be shaken like a snow globe.

The largest solar storm in five years could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, with effects that could linger into Friday.

Accuweather’s Dean DeVore said there is also a concern for airline passengers, especially pregnant women, who are on long flights.  Experts say at high altitudes the solar storm could expose people to radiation equivalent of 10 chest X-rays.

DeVore said some people are excited, though, about the potential for aurora borealis sightings far south in the northern hemisphere.

The storm started with a massive solar flare earlier in the week and grew as it raced outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble, scientists said. When it strikes, the particles will be moving at 4 million mph.

Read more at CBSNews.com.

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