Carrington-class CME Narrowly Misses Earth

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Two years ago, an intense solar storm narrowly missed Earth. If it had hit, researchers say, we could still be picking up the pieces.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space.

oronal mass ejections are often associated with other forms of solar activity, most notably solar flares, but a causal relationship has not been established. Most ejections originate from active regions on the Sun’s surface, such as groupings of sunspots associated with frequent flares. Near solar maxima, the Sun produces about three CMEs every day, whereas near solar minima, there is about one CME every five days.

oronal mass ejections release huge quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation into space above the sun’s surface, either near the corona (sometimes called a solar prominence), or farther into the planet system, or beyond (interplanetary CME). The ejected material is a plasma consisting primarily of electrons and protons, but may contain small quantities of heavier elements such as helium, oxygen, and even iron. The theory of heavier element emissions during a CME is speculative information and requires further verification. It is highly unlikely that a CME contains any substantial amount of heavier elements, especially considering that the sun has not yet arrived at the point of helium flash and thus cannot begin to fuse elements heavier than helium.

oronal mass ejections are associated with enormous changes and disturbances in the coronal magnetic field. They are usually observed with a white-light coronagraph.

SOURCE: CIHAN