These eruptions are called Coronal Mass Ejections or CMES and they happen when the sun’s surface gets a little twisted. The Sun is basically a giant ball of gas that’s constantly dancing. when the Sun gets a little too excited its magnetic field too far which causes it to kink. Remember, when phones with cords get all tangled when you walk and talk, it’s kind of like that. Eventually, the tension builds and the kink snaps and the plasma explodes into a terrifying cloud of protons and electrons.
Solar wind then takes the cloud of piping hot particles on a ride through the solar system. The plasma can travel at speeds up to seven million miles per hour ( 7 Million MPH ) and if the CME is aimed at earth it could take as little as 12 hours to slam into our planets.
Last time this happened was in 1859 and the impact triggered a geomagnetic storm in our magnetosphere. If that were to happen today the storm could fry our power grid, living us all in the dark. So the next time the sun decides to explode Let’s just hope it’s not aimed at us.
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