THE sun unleashed an unusually powerful solar flare Tuesday, the largest in nearly five years. The eruption launched a ten billion ton storm cloud hurtling through space at five million miles per hour. Scientists said the event took place on the side of the sun that was not facing Earth, so there will be little impact to satellites and communication systems. Joe Kunches at the US governments Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado said there were reports of brief short-wave radio disruptions in Asia, but little else. He said: 'We lucked out because the site of the eruption at the sun was not facing the Earth, so we will probably feel no ill-effects. The image was captured by Nasas Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet light at 131 Angstroms. The sun is transitioning from a quiet period into a busier cycle. Scientists estimate there will be a spike in the number of such solar eruptions over the next three to five years. The last time there was such a strong solar flare was in December 2006. Scientists have warned that solar storms could have 'devastating effects on human technology when they hit a peak in two years time. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assistant secretary Kathryn Sullivan said the storms pose a growing threat to critical infrastructure such as satellite communications, navigation systems and electrical transmission equipment. Solar storms release particles that can temporarily disable or permanently destroy fragile computer circuits. Daily Mail