Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Large flares are often associated with huge ejections of mass from the Sun, although the association is not clear. These coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are balloon-shaped bursts of solar wind rising above the solar corona, expanding as they climb. Solar plasma is heated to tens of millions of degrees, and electrons, protons, and heavy nuclei are accelerated to near the speed of light. The super-heated electrons from CMEs move along the magnetic field lines faster than the solar wind can flow.
Rearrangement of the magnetic
field, and solar flares may result in the formation of a shock that
accelerates particles ahead of the CME loop. Each CME releases up to
100 billion kg (220 billion lb) of this material, and the speed of the
ejection can reach 1000 km/second (2 million mph) in some flares. Solar
flares and CMEs are currently the biggest "explosions" in our solar
system, roughly approaching the power in one billion hydrogen atomic bombs.
|CMEs are not small either...|
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
|Expect electrically charged storms, rising tides and power outages|
Entitled “Severe Space Weather Events — Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts,” it describes the consequences of solar flares unleashing waves of energy that could disrupt Earth’s magnetic field, overwhelming high-voltage transformers with vast electrical currents and short-circuiting energy grids. Such a catastrophe would cost the United States “$1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year,” concluded the panel, and “full recovery could take four to 10 years.” That would, of course, be just a fraction of global damages.