IN SPACE - OCTOBER 28:  In this handout from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, a major solar eruption is shown in progress October 28, 2003. This X18 flare is the strongest flare since August 16, 1989 when a X20 flare occurred. A large coronal mass ejection (CME) has been hurled towards the Earth and could hit the Earth's magnetosphere by October 30. The CME is seen as a white circle around the sun in this image. Until the orientation of the magnetic field in this cloud is known, the severity of the Geomagnetic Storm will be unknown. If the cloud has a southward-directed magnetic field it will be severe, but if it has a northward component it will not affect the Earth that much. The eruption also accelerated a high-energy proton shower, which can cause damage to satellites and can be harmful for astronauts.  (Photo by Solar & Heliospheric Observatory/NASA via Getty Images)