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CMEs ....... Angry Red Man
Now, whom should the Sun break , when angry?
Probably this question leads to the answer to the question of whether the earth is about to end by 2012 !!
Let me be very clear with the actual concept in the starting itself !! CMEs are the outputs of the angry Sun and their emission plays a very important role in determining the "Sun-storms".A coronal mass ejection is a massive burst of solar wind , other light isotope plasma, and magnetic fields rising above corona or being released into space.The ejected material is plasma with electrons and protons and also small amounts of helium , oxygen and iron.It is associated with enormous changes and disturbs the magnetic field.The patterns are S (and inverse S) shaped because the magnetic field lines that comprise them are twisted, rather like a slinky, but not so densely coiled. The field lines are three-dimensional, but they look like an S,always.
If a CME emission is "on the side of the Sun facing us", the results around Earth would be very dangerous.When a CME comes into the solar wind, it creates a shock wave that accelerates particles to dangerously high energies. Behind that shock wave, the CME expands into a huge cloud that engulfs planets in its path with plasma.However,all the effects of CMEs are not that bad.When their emission is from the "farther side of the Sun",the beautiful aurora borealis and aurora australis (Northern and Southern Lights) are sometimes created by the influence of CMEs with the earth's magnetic field.
But the fact that the Sun's activity is cyclic means that in the next 1-2 years we should expect to see CMEs becoming more frequent and we don't even know the place where they get ejected and the place where they travel later.Once a CME comes out of the Sun , there is no guarantee that they travel in the same direction , which was earlier proved by "multi scale processing " technique , which means taking an image and sorting the things in it according to size.The travel time for the solar wind from the Sun to the Earth is two to four days.When there is no guarantee about the actual direction of the outcoming CME's , we all can UNDERSTAND that there are lots of dangers in our front yard but there is no need to DIGEST these things because we've got with some softwares to decide the direction of these CME's even and it would be better if we can divert their direction , as its quite possible with our amazing technology !!
When a CME hits Earth's magnetosphere,magnetic storms occur. Magnetic storms generate million amp electric currents , then distorts the magnetosphere with it and travels through the Earth's outer atmosphere.Now it disturb the Van Allen radiation belts,and leaves it with "killer electrons" that have the ability to pierce the skin of a satellite and the cells of an astronaut.Finally damage power systems on Earth.
Magnetic storms can even push extra electricity into our power lines and pipelines,that causes black outs and fuel leaks. Storms from the Sun do not harm life on Earth -- but they do affect the way we live
In March 1989, a magnetic storm burned up a $36 million transformer in New Jersey and collapsed the entire power grid in Quebec, Canada, leaving six million people without electricity. Similarly , in January 1997, a communications satellite went dead just hours after a coronal mass ejection (CME) struck the magnetosphere.
Space weather can pose a radiation hazard for astronauts. In August 1972, an intense solar flare that occurred between the flights of Apollo 16 and 17 would have killed the astronauts if they had been on the way to the Moon during that time.
Fortunately, our magnetic cocoon and atmosphere shelter us from these CMEs.And as a precaution,the ground electronics of satellites can be saved by enclosing them permanently in aluminum sheeting or other metals to isolate them.And even individuals can wrap electronics in aluminum foil or the aluminum space blankets to prevent the domestic and personal damage.We can turn off high voltages on satellites. so it won't zap itself under the severe conditions when the plasma hits it.Remember always,better to lose a little data than to lose a satellite.Also the same answer applies to transformers in power systems too. Better to shut off some part of the power grid briefly.