Big solar storm heading toward Earth

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(CNN) – Big storms are brewing but your umbrella won’t help.

The sun is raining down a huge amount of radiation, and experts say it could affect power grids, radios and satellites.

Experts say the combined energy from two recent solar events will hit Earth on Sept. 13, prompting the Space Weather Prediction Center to issue a strong Geomagnetic Storm Watch.

Every now and then, the sun spits out a giant burst of radiation called a coronal mass ejection, or CME.

CMEs are associated with solar flares, which are the most explosive events in the solar system.

The sun has released two CMEs in the past two days and both are linked to solar flares.

NASA says the second flare is listed in the most intense category, the X1.6 class.

Space weather experts say they aren’t sure what the solar storm will do.

“This is a pretty strong solar storm and we just won’t know until it gets here” what it will do, said CNN Meteorologist Chad Meyers.

Earth’s atmosphere usually protects humans, but you may want to keep a flashlight on hand.

Solar storms can knock out power, interfere with GPS and radio communications and can damage satellites.

Fortunately, major disruptions are not expected.

On March 13, 1989, a solar storm knocked out power for the entire province of Quebec for 12 hours.

Power grids in the United States were impacted, but didn’t have blackouts.

NASA says some satellites tumbled out of control for hours during what’s known as the Quebec Blackout.

The Space Shuttle Discovery was in orbit at the time and had a mysterious sensor problem that went away after the storm, NASA says.

On the upside, solar storms also create beautiful aurora. Aurora watchers in the northern U.S. should be watching the skies on Thursday and Friday nights.

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