Solar Tsunami! Celestial Show to Hit Earth Tonight

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NASA / Corbis

A gargantuan eruption of plasma on the surface of the sun has caused a celestial tsunami shower of ionized atoms to head straight for the Earth, which scientists expect to arrive at our planet Tuesday night.

Scientists also say there is nothing we can do and the coronal mass ejection will hit our world, illuminating the night sky before a final collision between us and the inevitable geomagnetic storm. “It’s the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time,” Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told (See pictures of NASA’s great Moonbuggy race)

And besides causing problems with satellites in the way, it should be quite an entertaining show.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which was launched in February and studies space phenomena like this one, and looks into the sun to see how it works. Scientists there say people in the Northern U.S. have a great view of it, and it should be even better if it triggers aurorae, or solar particles coming into contact with earth’s magnetic field and our atmosphere.