Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections
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This paper explores and analyzes the topic of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are also known as solar storms. The paper defines a solar flare as a sudden, rapid, and intense variation in brightness that "occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released." Referring to a Scientific American article by Adam Hadhazy, the paper describes how solar flares generally affect planet Earth. The paper explains that increased dependence on electricity generation and the proliferation of satellite technologies means that solar radiation threatens to damage major security and communications systems worldwide, including banking systems, public water supplies, corrosion of public works and petroleum transportation pipelines, voltage fluctuations on mainline power grids, and interference with global positioning system (GPS) devices.
From the Paper:"Solar flares and CMEs are relatively predictable because of the cyclical nature of solar storms. The Space Weather Prediction Center and the Space Weather Web site offer daily updates on solar conditions. Flare prediction involves observation from Earth using telescopes and equipment that can detect radiation signatures, but the detection of x-rays and gamma rays demands equipment staged outside of the Earth's atmosphere ("What is a Solar Flare?"). Several such systems are set up for solar flare prediction at the Earth-Sun Lagrangian Point such as the Advanced Composition Explorer (O'Dell). Unfortunately, x-ray flares that emit from the sun are extremely difficult to predict because x-rays travel at the speed of light and will reach the earth in about 8 minutes (O'Dell). The last major x-ray flare occurred in 2003 ("O'Dell). Most of the energy from an x-ray flare is absorbed by the earth's ionosphere ("O'Dell). Thus, a CME can be far more dangerous for human societies than an x-ray flare."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Hadhazy, Adam. "A Scary 13th: 20 Years Ago, Earth Was Blasted with a Massive Plume of Solar Plasma." Scientific American. Mar 13, 2009. Retrieved Mar 20, 2009 from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=geomagnetic-storm-march-13-1989-extreme-space-weather
- O'Neill, Ian. "2012: No Killer Solar Flare." Universe Today. June 21, 2008. Retrieved Mar 20, 2009 from http://www.universetoday.com/2008/06/21/2012-no-killer-solar-flare/
- "What is a Solar Flare?" Retrieved Mar 20, 2009 from http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/sftheory/flare.htm
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (2011, January 14) Retrieved May 25, 2013, from http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/solar-flares-and-coronal-mass-ejections-146733/
"Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections" 14 January 2011. Web. 25 May. 2013. <http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/solar-flares-and-coronal-mass-ejections-146733/>