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!

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Typo:
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.