American company, Delta Air Lines adjusted routes between Asia and the US to avoid fallout from the radiation storm, said a spokesman.

The largest storm of its kind since October 2003 began colliding with the Earth’s magnetic field around 3pm GMT, confirmed NASA.

Officials at Delta, the world’s second largest airline, said the flights were rerouted due to possible disruption of satellite communications in the polar regions.

The most direct route from the US to north east Asia is over the north pole, but flights will continue to be diverted until solar activity returns to normal, adding about 15 minutes to journey times.

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said: “We are undergoing a series of solar bursts in the sky that are impacting the northern side of the world.

“It can impact your ability to communicate. So, basically, the polar routes are being flown further south than normal.”

Experts say the radiation will continue hitting the Earth’s atmosphere for the rest of today.

Radiation storms do not cause harm to humans on Earth but they can affect satellites and short wave radio.

Routes from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul were diverted south after the solar flare erupted on Sunday.

Doug Biesecker, a physicist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Centre, said: “The flare itself was nothing spectacular, but it sent off a very fast coronal mass ejection traveling four million miles per hour (6.4 million kilometres per hour).”

NOAA has classified the radiation level as strong. There are two higher levels: severe and extreme.

The intensity of the photons raining down on Earth have cause particularly spectacular Northern Lights – or aurora borealis – which this year can be seen as far south as Scotland and northern England.