Images from NASA's STEREO satellite show a CME blasting off of the sun's surface on Sunday, January 13. (NASA)
ATLANTA (WXIA) -- NASA officials said Monday that a massive solar eruption has sent a coronal mass ejection toward Earth. NASA says it could cause a geomagnetic storm and create an increase in the northern lights over the remainder of the week.
NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory satellites captured images of the solar eruption on Sunday.
Officials with NASA said flares generally take three days to reach Earth, but they do not believe this coronal mass ejection (CME) will disrupt communications or electrical grids.
Scientists said the sun is in a phase when it produces more solar flares. The sun goes through an 11-year weather cycle. They said two sunspot regions, designated AR 11652 and AR 11654, have produced four M-class flares since January 11. The most powerful flares are X-class flares and can cause much longer radiation storms and cause radio blackouts and disrupt power grids. M-class flares, or medium sized flares can, according to scientists, cause brief blackouts and solar storms in polar regions.
NASA and NOAA monitor solar flares and auroras, and provide updated information via the SpaceWeather.com website.