NASA satellite video shows the Sun 'burping' twice in solar storm


On January 21, the Sun “burped twice” as two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were released. CMEs are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field released from the surface of the Sun. When the Sun releases CMEs, a solar stream ensues which can carry solar particles at 600 kilometres a second through the solar system.

Today, the Sun released two of these CMEs, but both were away from Earth.

The phenomenon was spotted by NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

A brief video from SOHO shows two minor flashes coming from the left and right of the Sun, from the satellite’s perspective.

Thankfully, neither CMEs were pointed towards Earth.

Astronomy site Space Weather said: “Today the sun burped, twice.

“SOHO coronagraphs detected two CMEs on January 21 – one to the west and one to the east. Neither of the storm clouds is heading for Earth.”

Often, solar particles released from CMEs can collide with Earth.

For the most part, the Earth’s magnetic field protects humans from the barrage of radiation which comes from sunspots, but solar storms can affect satellite-based technology.

Solar winds can heat the Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing it to expand.

This can affect satellites in orbit, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.

Additionally, a surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blowouts and a loss of power.

Rarely does an event such as this happen, with the biggest technology-crippling solar storm coming in 1859, when a surge in electricity during what is now known as the Carrington Event, was so strong that telegraph systems went down across Europe.

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There are also reports that some buildings set on fire as a result of the electrical surge.





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