MINNEAPOLIS -- 10 years ago today the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, otherwise known as STEREO, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It's mission, study the sun in 3D.
"Before stereo, before 10 years ago, we were only looking at the sun head on. So when something erupted, we saw it in a very limited view," said Dr. Alex Young, NASA Scientist.
With STEREO, NASA has two satellites that can monitor the sun from every angle.
"So this gave us a whole new perspective -- two different additional viewpoints -- to see how these eruptions form on the sun, how they leave the sun, travel through the solar system and how fast they are," said Dr. Alex Young.
Space weather is important, eruptions from the sun can destroy our satellites, interrupt our power grids, and for astronauts traveling in space put them in the direct path to these harmful levels of energy.
The solar storm affecting Earth tonight is expected to peak at a a level of G3, a rating given by the Space Weather Prediction Center indicating strong solar activity. Because of the cloud cover we will also not see the northern lights, but radio communication and satellite navigation may be disrupted.
Solar activity will weaken to normal levels over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Below are a few links if you are interested in more about solar activity and space weather.
Solar Probe Plus, NASA's next Solar Mission launching in 2018