The Sun's surface erupted early Sunday morning and has blasted tons of plasma into the space directly towards the Earth. This wall of ionized atoms would hit the planet tonight, say scientists. This will create a geomagnetic storm and a spectacular light show which may possibly threaten satellites in orbit.
"This eruption is directed right at us and is expected to get here early in the day on Aug. 4th," said Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "It's the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time."
When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, the particles collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere, which then glow, creating an effect similar to miniature neon signs. While aurorae are normally visible only at high latitudes, they can light up the sky even at lower latitudes during a geomagnetic storm.
Watch the high-definition views of the Solar Tsunami (Solar Eruption) called a coronal mass ejection at NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.