what are coronal mass ejection, Solar Flares and aurora?
They're usually associated with active regions, often seen as sun spots, where the magnetic fields are strongest. Flares are classified according to their strength. The smallest ones are B-class, followed by C, M and X, the largest. Similar to the Richter scale for earthquakes, each letter represents a ten-fold increase in energy output. So an X is 10 times an M and 100 times a C. Within each letter class, there is a finer scale from 1 to 9. C-class flares are too weak to noticeably affect Earth. M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts. Although X is the last letter, there are flares more than 10 times the power of an X1, so X-class flares can go higher than 9.
1. what is an aurora?
Why do we see those stunning lights in the northern- and southernmost portions of the night sky? The Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis occur when high-energy particles are flung from the Sun's corona toward the Earth and mingle with the neutral atoms in our atmosphere -- ultimately emitting extraordinary light and color. Michael Molina explains every step of this dazzling phenomenon.
2. C.M.E vs Flares and
classes of flares:
C-class and smaller flares are too weak to noticeably affect Earth. M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts.And then come the X-class flares. Although X is the last letter, there are flares more than 10 times the power of an X1, so X-class flares can go higher than 9. The most powerful flare measured with modern methods was in 2003, during the last solar maximum, and it was so powerful that it overloaded the sensors measuring it. The sensors cut out at X28.
The biggest X-class flares are by far the largest explosions in the solar system and are awesome to watch. Loops tens of times the size of Earth leap up off the sun's surface when the sun's magnetic fields cross over each other and reconnect. In the biggest events, this reconnection process can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs.
3. why can't we harness
energy from "solar
The problem with solar flare harvesting is it is extremely powerful but extremely intermittent and irregular. Flares happen at irregular intervals. "The frequency of occurrence of solar flares varies, from several per day when the Sun is particularly "active" to less than one every week when the Sun is "quiet"". And consider that only a very few solar flares are pointed at the earth. The frequency is probably once every few years.
Even if we had tech to harvest every solar flare like a web of sattelites and antennas orbiting the sun, there is no technology that can store the large amounts of energy released that would be enough for even a single country for one week. Even for photovoltaics, there is no large scale energy storage enough for a country that can store energy for one night
Coronal mass ejections (C.M.Es) & flares are both solar events, but they are
not the same. This video shows the differences between the two by
highlighting specific features of each.
Could we harness energy in space for use on Earth?