Hara Khaber covered the basic question about CMEs that every third science student has in their mind. The question is what are Coronal Mass Ejections in the context of science? A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is a vast cloud of electrically charged particles. The vast cloud from the sun’s upper atmosphere or corona heats to enormous temperatures. It launches with a large burst of velocity by the energy released in a solar flare. These hot droplets of plasma can have dramatic effects on planets in their path. CMEs do not pose a direct threat to life on Earth. They can also damage the technologies on which human society depends.
“CMEs can cause geomagnetic storms after near-Earth environment arrival,” Stephanie Yardley. Stephanie Yardley is a space weather expert at University College London, told WordsSideKick.com. “These produce soil-induced currents that degrade power grids. It also can affect the accuracy of GPS and GNSS satellite navigation systems.”
What causes CMES?
CMEs originate in the same process that creates solar flares. They form when a huge loop of the sun’s magnetic field, pushes through the visible surface or photosphere. These Flares pinch near their base and reconnect to a lower level. As a result, this process releases a lot of excess energy in the form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. This process also heats the gases around the reconnection site. It sometimes goes up to temperatures of 36 million degrees Fahrenheit (20 million degrees Celsius) or higher. This gives particles around the site, including those in the loop.
Now isolated from the magnetic field above, a massive boost of velocity and energy produces a huge bubble of expanding hot gas. This gas escapes the sun’s gravitational pull and runs through space. CMEs can travel at speeds of hundreds of miles per second. The fastest, most energetic may take less than a day to reach Earth’s orbit. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest 84 hours for the arrival of CMEs.
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