The Sun

Quiz: How much do you know about solar eruptions?

What is a coronal mass ejection?

A. Large explosions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun

B. Large explosions of gas from the Sun

C. Large explosions of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun

A. CMEs consist of an enormous eruption of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun.

If a CME erupts on the side of the Sun facing Earth, how long would it take the CME to hit Earth?

A. Instantly, right after the eruption

B. Within minutes of the eruption

C. 1-5 days after the eruption

D. Weeks after the eruption

C. If a CME is headed towards Earth, the faster ones can take as little as 15-18 hours, and the slower ones can arrive after 3-4 days.

What could happen if a CME hit Earth?

A. It could burn Earth’s surface

B. It worsen the effects of UV radiation and cause sunburns

C. It could damage the atmosphere

D. It could damage our communication systems

D. CMEs are clouds of plasma and magnetic field, which could disrupt our communication systems and electric grids, possibly causing blackouts and disrupting GPS signals.

What is a solar flare?

A. An eruption of plasma, like a CME

B. A moment of intense brightness and pulse of electromagnetic radiation

C. When hot gas in the Sun’s corona gives off more light than usual

D. An optical illusion created by Earth’s atmosphere that makes the Sun look brighter

B. A solar flare is an eruption of electromagnetic radiation, which manifests as an extremely bright event.

What protects Earth’s surface from solar wind and eruptions?

A. The ozone layer

B. The magnetic field

C. Clouds

D. Wind carrying away the high energy plasma

B. Earth’s magnetic field protects our surface by acting as a barrier to charged particles in the solar wind. The magnetic field “pushes” the charged particles away.