The sun recently launched a coronal mass ejection, or CME, which is described as "large expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from its corona." Putting that into simpler terms, CNN called it a "massive solar belch," sending a mass of protons and electrons through the solar system.
Check out a visual of it all below.
This burst of energy is expected to reach the Earth's magnetic field as early as Wednesday night, and cause a geomagnetic storm that will create a colorful display of the aurora borealis, or "northern lights," that could stretch as far south as Pennsylvania and Iowa. A typical aurora color is a green tint, but this occurrence could bring additional colors that range from red to pink or blue to purple, and last until the early morning hours of Dec. 10.
Aside from brief alterations to the night sky, the CME could also cause electronic systems, such as a radio station or GPS, to temporarily malfunction. "Ironically, the flare itself was a source of strong radio emissions," astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips said, per Forbes. "Ham radio operators may have heard a 'roar' of solar static during the blackout."
In other space-related news, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligning on Dec. 21 for their closest visible approach since 1226. This event is referred to as "The Great Conjunction," and will not happen again until 2080.