X-class Solar flares can cause radiation storms in Earth's upper atmosphere and trigger radio blackouts, as happened earlier this morning.
During large solar flares, the sun can also sling a cloud of energetic plasma from its body, an event called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
The orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency, later provided that answer when it picked up the coronal mass ejection from the event, although according to SpaceWeather.com NOAA analysts are still modeling its trajectory to see whether it is directed toward Earth.
If aimed toward Earth, the CME from these latest flares could lead to even more spectacular auroras, but could also damage satellites, communications and power systems.
That cloud of charged plasma would arrive within 1 to 3 or 4 days, Steenburgh said, although CMEs triggered by energetic flares generally come quickly.
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