09/03/2012 08:59 GMT | Updated 09/03/2012 09:41 GMT

Solar Storm Passes Earth Without Incident - PHOTOS, VIDEO

A massive solar storm that could have shut down Earth's communications systems hit the planet's magnetic field yesterday, largely without damage.

"The freight train has gone by, and is still going by, and now we're just watching for how this is all going to shake out," said Joseph Kunches, a scientist with US weather agency Noaa, according to the BBC.

The coronial mass ejection was released as the sun nears the peak of its 11-year storm cycle. The cycle will peak in 2013/2014, and then trough again.

The leading edge of the coronal mass ejection reached Nasa's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite at 5:42am New York Time yesterday.

ACE, which is just outside Earth's magnetosphere, then communicated with instruments on Earth which could then measure the storm.

Nasa's latest release says that the 8 March storm was considered minor - a G1 on a scale of G1 to G5.

The mild effects of the storm naturally did not stop doomsayers taking to Twitter and Facebook to express their end-of-days theories.

@Satan wrote "do you like my solar storm?". @SaintRPh wrote "Giant Solar Storm Races towards Earth… Yay another Crisis for Obama to Milk! #headdesk". @CapesandCloaks "Biggest solar storm in five years is now hitting Earth. THE SUN IS HERE, EVERYBODY PANIC HIDE THE FREAKIN KIDS !!! Now wheres my sunblock?"

The storm produced magnificent displays of the northern lights, which you can see in the slideshow below.