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Sun and coronal mass ejection, illustration

Sun and coronal mass ejection, illustration

F022/1708

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Illustration of a coronal mass ejection (CME) emanating from the Sun. These events are powerful releases of solar charged particles (plasma) and magnetic field, travelling on the solar wind. When a CME hits Earth, it can cause a geomagnetic storm which disrupts the planet s magnetosphere, our radio transmissions and electrical power lines. They can damage artificial satellites and cause long-lasting power outages. Humans in orbit are also very vulnerable to these events, whose high-energy particles are not shield by typical spacecraft.

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