A massive eruption on the sun on January 22 has created the strongest solar radiation storm since September 2005.
The coronal mass ejection (CME) and fast-moving, highly energetic protons are headed straight toward Earth in something known as a “solar energetic particle” event, according to NASA’s Goddard Space Weather Center.
“The CME is moving at almost 1,400 miles per second, and could reach Earth’s magnetosphere — the magnetic envelope that surrounds Earth — as early as tomorrow, Jan 24 at 9 a.m.,” said NASA’s Karen C. Fox.
“This has the potential to provide good auroral displays, possible at lower latitudes than normal.”
It has long been debated by scientists exactly what role the sun plays in the universe. In modern times, changes in the Earth’s temperatures have been attributed to a host of causes, including man-made and natural triggers.
The scientific community is not unified when it comes to pinpointing the reason for these temperature changes — more commonly known as the global warming debate.
Is it man-made or natural reasons?
In 2008, a group of Canadian scientists wanted money to purchase better “eyes” to study the sun.
A report by Investor’s Business Daily, posted Feb. 7, 2008 explained how scientists believe solar cycles have a “bigger impact on Earth’s climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined.”
It is commonly believed that solar activity generally fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. By monitoring the magnetic levels of the sun, scientists believe they can accurately correlate these solar changes with the rise and fall of global temperatures.
One example given in the IBD report is that the sun has been burning more brightly over the last 60 years, “accounting for the 1 degree Celsius increase in Earth’s temperature over the last 100 years.”
Investor’s Business Daily: The sun also sets
NASA: The sunspot cycle
Max Planck Institute for Solar Research: Does the sun affect the Earth’s climate?
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