This amazing activity of our star happened on Friday, and the plasma stream was directed towards Mercury, the smallest planet in our system. This one is an average of 58 million km from the Sun and interacts regularly with coronal mass ejections.
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What are these explosions anyway? Sunspots, that is, areas covering the surface of the Sun that are characterized by low temperatures and intense magnetic fields, contribute to their occurrence. The plasma that is released from this region travels at a tremendous speed, and when these particles reach the Earth, they can interact with the local magnetosphere.
The sun is currently heading towards the peak of its activity, which should occur in 2025. However, in the meantime, we must get used to the increasing number of coronal mass ejections and geomagnetic storms, which may lead to communication problems or malfunctions in the power grid, Among other things.
Friday’s coronal mass ejection was directed toward Mercury
However, while coronal mass ejections are ring-like in appearance in most cases, here we are talking about a butterfly-like shape. Because the eruption was directed toward Mercury, astronomers don’t expect us to feel its effects on Earth. The first planet from the Sun has a much weaker magnetic field than Earth’s, so it is more vulnerable to the influence of our star.
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In recent history, the magnetic storm of 1859 was particularly intense, producing a comparable amount of energy to the detonation of 10 billion 1-megaton atomic bombs. When the “shock wave” reached our planet, 19th-century telegraph systems around the world began to break down, and the resulting aurorae were brighter than a full moon. If similar events were repeated today, the consequences would be very dire. There is even talk of a scenario in which the power grids and the entire Internet will be damaged for a long time.
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