Is This Shockwave Our Only Warning Of A "Solar Katrina"?

Check out the eruption on the left side of this picture — that's a shockwave plowing through the sun's atmosphere. Could this be the early warning sign of a Solar Katrina?

The image was captured by NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, which sounds like an early 90s rapper, using its Extreme UV camera. I'm going to start dropping those phrases into conversation: "I'm feeling like taking it to the extreme UV, like STEREO-B."

But this picture may be cool-looking, but it's a bit more alarming after you read this ABC News article, which the NASA site links to, about the potential devastation that a "Solar Katrina," caused by solar storms, could wreak on Earth:

More than a million people without power. The distribution of drinkable water disrupted. Transportation, communication and banking upset. Trillions of dollars in damage... Severe weather in the sun's outer atmosphere could knock out much of the country's power grid, incapacitate navigational systems and jeopardize spacecraft, scientists say.

Bottom line: probably best to keep an eye on STEREO-B. [NASA via SpaceWeather]