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Solar storm not over yet: CMA

(Xinhua)

15:58, March 09, 2012

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A strong solar storm that has disturbed Earth's magnetic field is not yet over, but disruptions will be minor, the China Meteorological Administration said Friday.

The CMA's National Satellite Meteorological Center reported that it had spotted an X5.4-class solar flare emitting from a group of sunspots at 8:24 a.m. Wednesday.

The flare spawned a cloud of charged particles, a phenomenon referred to as coronal mass ejection (CME), with particles racing toward Earth at a speed of 2,200 km per second, according to the center.

Disruptions to Earth's magnetic field were minor, as only the rim of the ejection cloud moved across the planet, the center said.

However, the impact is likely to intensify if the particles are hurled directly to the Earth as a result of the sunspot group's movement, said Le Guiming, an analyst with the center.

Le said solar storms will become increasingly frequent, as the sun is approaching its "solar maximum," or period of greatest solar activity, next year.

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