On Sunday, a solar wind stream traveling at a speed of more than 600 kilometers (372 miles per second) pummeled the Earth's magnetic field. While this isn't particularly concerning because solar storms frequently pummel our globe and produce stunning auroras, it is strange because this storm came completely out of the blue.

"This event was not in the forecast, so the resulting auroras came as a surprise," SpaceWeather reported. When a stream of highly energized particles and plasma can no longer be held back by the gravity of the Sun, it bursts out towards Earth.

Although we still don't fully understand how our Sun operates, scientists do a wonderful job of keeping track of its emissions from Earth. These emissions are assumed to originate from the big bright areas of the Sun known as "coronal holes."

These observations enable them to produce space weather "forecasts" that not only indicate when solar storms or solar flares, also known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), may affect us but also indicate their potential intensity. But that doesn't exclude us from experiencing surprises like the one we had over the weekend.

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) of NASA observed weak solar wind streams early on Sunday, which grew dramatically and unexpectedly over the day. SpaceWeather hypothesizes that this solar storm may have been brought on by the early arrival of solar wind that was supposed to arrive from an equatorial hole in the Sun's atmosphere two days later. Or perhaps it was a coronal mass ejection that was missed (CME).

"A discontinuity in solar wind data at 0045 UT on Aug. 7th hints at a shock wave embedded in the solar wind," writes Space Weather. "These days, the active sun is producing so many minor explosions, it is easy to overlook faint CMEs heading for Earth."

As of August 9, 04:06 UTC (0006 ET), recordings reveal that the high-velocity solar wind is still slamming against the Earth's magnetic field at a speed of 551.3 kilometers (343 miles) per second.

The good news is that because Earth is safely shielded by its atmosphere from the solar wind, we are not harmed by it. However, when it's strong, it can interfere with modern electronics, causing problems with power grids and, in certain situations, communication satellites.

The storms are classed from G1 at the weakest end of the scale all the way up to G5, which is a violent solar storm. These winds were categorized as a mild G2 solar storm. G2 storms may have an impact on high-latitude power systems and may alter spacecraft orbit calculations, according to Space Weather. Since the Sun is currently in the active period of its 11-year solar cycle, if you feel like this is all sounding familiar, it is because we have seen many solar storms this year.