Throwback Thursday: The Truth About Solar Storms (Synopsis)

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” -Alexander Graham Bell

The Sun, contrary to what you might normally think about it, isn't a constant, uniform source of radiation. It has an active surface, replete with temperature variations, sunspots, and occasionally a large flare or mass ejection.

Image credit: NASA / GSFC / SDO. Image credit: NASA / GSFC / SDO.

But on very rare occasion, a flare like this makes it way through space and just happens to make its way towards Earth, where this hot, fast-moving ionized plasma collides with us. While the aurorae it produces can be spectacular, some of the other unwanted effects can be catastrophic!

Image credit: NASA / ISS expedition crew 23. Image credit: NASA / ISS expedition crew 23.

What will it means if we get hit by a big one? Find out the truth -- separated from sensationalism and fear -- here!

More like this

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” -Alexander Graham Bell In 1859, the Sun surprisingly increased in brightness so significantly for just a brief while that it was noticeable from Earth during the day. Less than 24 hours later…
"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus." -Alexander Graham Bell Imagine a beautiful, clear day. The Sun is shining, the skies are clear, and you couldn't ask for a nicer day. Image credit: © 2012 Free HD wallpapers. All of a…
"Events are the ephemera of history; they pass across its stage like fireflies, hardly glimpsed before they settle back into darkness and as often as not into oblivion. Every event, however brief, has to be sure a contribution to make, lights up some dark corner or even some wide vista of history…
" every kind of chemical change no loss of matter occurs [...] in all the varied modes of physical change, no loss of energy takes place." -Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe When it comes to the physical laws of the Universe, perhaps the most unbreakable of all seems to be the law of conservation of…

3.) Out atmosphere
should be:
3.) Ou__R__ atmosphere
Sort of.

By Walter Jeffries (not verified) on 25 Jul 2014 #permalink

So I'm guessing I pull the main breaker -- the big one that has 2 handles -- that still leaves the ground wire. Since I don't think I can count on my electrical utility to respond in a timely way.

Then maybe shut off the gas? Because those pipes will carry a surge too, right?

Heck, I dunno.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 25 Jul 2014 #permalink

Particles are not 'bent', they are deflected. Sloppy language for a science based article.

By Anon Amust (not verified) on 25 Jul 2014 #permalink

I think you may be either missing the point of some of concerns, or setting up a straw man argument. The concern (at least as expressed by more responsible sources) isn't that anyone is facing direct, personal danger for a CME but rather that the resulting infrastructure damage (GPS, power grid, air traffic control systems, mission critical electronics in utilities, hospitals, manufacturing, etc.) would be a massive blow to the world economy, and people would suffer from the secondary and tertiary impacts of this.

By Markus Roberts (not verified) on 26 Jul 2014 #permalink

Is there any hope of actually getting informed in advance of collision? Unless someone is capable and responsible for alerting the general population -- and actually willing to do so as warranted, we're all gonna die.

By Aubrey Kohn (not verified) on 29 Jul 2014 #permalink

I came here from Medium. I just want to say that I love what you are doing here. Thank you for the information.