March 8th, 2012
05:08 PM ET

Solar storms causing few problems on Earth

Geomagnetic and solar radiation storms hitting Earth after Tuesday's solar flares may not be as big as advertised, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

Together, such storms can affect GPS systems, other satellite systems and power grids, but none of these problems has been reported, even as the leading edge of the sun's coronal mass ejections from Tuesday hit Earth on Thursday morning, scientists said.

The geomagnetic storm has reached only G1 intensity on a scale from G1 (weak) to G5 (extreme), and the solar radiation storm is an S3 (strong) on a similar 1-to-5 scale, NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center said. Earlier, NOAA had predicted a G3/S4 event.

Still, the solar radiation storm has prompted some airlines to divert planes from routes near the north pole, where radio communications may be affected and passengers at high altitudes may be at a higher than normal radiation risk.

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Most memorable space shuttle moments
At Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-135 crew pose for a group portrait in front of space shuttle Atlantis' hatch in the pad's White Room. From left are Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialist Rex Walheim and Commander Chris Ferguson. An access arm supports the White Room that is in place against the shuttle which provides entry to the crew compartment. The astronauts are at Kennedy to participate in a launch countdown dress rehearsal called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) and related training.
July 7th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Most memorable space shuttle moments

For more than 30 years, America's space shuttles have rocketed into orbit. Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour blasted off 134 times from the Kennedy Space Center. They were mankind's first reusable space launch vehicles, and the first to glide back to Earth on wings. As the space shuttle program ends with the final flight of Atlantis, CNN looks back at key moments that have defined this pioneering space program.

See all 10 memorable moments at This Just In
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