no umbrella needed
There's apparently an enormous hole on the surface of the sun — but, seriously, you shouldn't panic. The gaping space on the sun's visage could create massive space storms and disrupt Earth's power grid systems, sure, but scientists want you to know it's not as big a deal as it sounds.
The Space Weather Prediction Center issued a geomagnetic storm warning for Tuesday and Wednesday, citing a "hole" that is generating strong solar winds. The hole is actually a gap in the sun's magnetic field atmosphere, and that gap opens up the sun's outer atmosphere and alters its magnetic field. All of that results in charged gas particles hurtling toward Earth, which Spaceweather.com says can "engulf our planet for several days."
The good news is that the occurrence makes the northern lights visible from some areas in the U.S. The auroral displays, which NASA describes as being caused by "solar wind interacting with Earth's magnetosphere," will be a rare sight, given that they usually only occur at the globe's poles.
On the other hand, there's a small chance that the stormy space weather could affect power grids and satellite communications, as well as cause radio blackouts, Space.com reports. A disturbance to the Earth's magnetic field in 1859 ignited fires, and a 2003 instance forced aircrafts offline for 30 hours, Geek.com reports.
Such drastic effects aren't likely, though. Geomagnetic storms don't usually cause any significant harm to us earthlings, and especially not low-level storms like this one, says Geek.com. This particular storm may affect marine animals' internal compasses, The Weather Channel reports, which could disorient them and lead to more beachings — but assuming the storm doesn't escalate, the sun's magnetic temper tantrum should pass without wreaking much havoc on Earth.