Late Monday night, as Washingtonians and millions of others across the eastern seaboard were watching television or getting ready for bed, the sun was exploding.
Or at least it seemed like it, if you look at the NASA movie below. It was taken with the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft late Monday night.
A flare associated with a coronal mass ejection jumped off the sun and is now heading toward the Earth at almost 500 mph, according to the NASA website. It should arrive at Earth sometime Wednesday.
Solar flares can disable satellites and, in extreme cases, disable power grids, so should we be concerned? No, unless you you live in the polar latitidudes and have something against auroras. Otherwise, the effects of the flare should be moderate, according to NASA.