EARTH's magnetic field is about to be shaken like
a snow globe by the largest solar storm in five years.
through space for a day and a half, a massive cloud of charged particles is due to arrive late today and could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas. But the same blast could also paint colourful auroras farther from the poles than normal.
Scientists say the storm, which started with a massive solar flare earlier in the week, is growing as it races outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble. When it strikes early, the particles will be moving at 6.4 million kph.
"It's hitting us right in the nose," said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado