A huge solar storm that could destroy electronics missed the Earth by only 9 days
Solar storms are all the rage these days. With our sun experiencing an unusually active period, it feels like there is news of a massive solar flare each week. In February, for example, a geomagnetic storm originating from the sun knocked 40 SpaceX satellites out of the sky after the company ignored warnings from numerous scientists.
But what are they? Solar storms are created by coronal mass ejections (CME), which are explosive bursts of charged particles ejected from the sun. It can only affect us if the stream of particles, which are called solar wind, is directed in our direction. If the sun's magnetic field is the polar opposite of Earth's magnetic field at the moment, charged particles can enter our planet's upper atmosphere and travel to the polar regions, and this surprising burst of electromagnetic energy creates the stunning auroras we all know and love. But it also has the potential to fry everything that conducts electricity.
In this video by the YouTube channel Physics Girl, you can learn how a massive solar storm that would have wiped out humanity's entire electronic infrastructure missed the Earth by just nine days in 2012.