Coronal mass ejections are massive explosions on the sun’s surface that shoot blazing hot plasma into the solar system. So what would happen if one of these explosions were aimed at Earth?
NASA Is Going to the Sun! But How...and Why?
What is a coronal mass ejection or CME?
“A large CME can contain a billion tons of matter that can be accelerated to several million miles per hour in a spectacular explosion. Solar material streams out through the interplanetary medium, impacting any planet or spacecraft in its path. CMEs are sometimes associated with flares but can occur independently.”
September 2017's intense solar activity viewed from space
“September 2017 saw a spate of solar activity, with the Sun emitting 27 M-class and four X-class flares and releasing several powerful coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, between Sept. 6-10.”
What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?
“[T]he biggest solar storm on record happened in 1859, during a solar maximum about the same size as the one we're entering, according to NASA. That storm has been dubbed the Carrington Event, after British astronomer Richard Carrington, who witnessed the megaflare and was the first to realize the link between activity on the sun and geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.”
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