Get ready for some wacky shock waves, thanks to our favorite shiny planet. Signs are increasingly emerging that the sun is shaking off a period of quiet activity and building toward a "Solar Max" peak, experts tell AFP.
And what is Solar Max? “At its angriest, the Sun can vomit forth tides of electromagnetic radiation and charged matter known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs,” the news service states.
“This shock wave may take several days to reach Earth. When it arrives, it compresses the planet's protective magnetic field, releasing energy visible in high latitudes as shimmering auroras -- the famous Northern Lights and Southern Lights.
“But CMEs are not just pretty events. They can unleash static discharges and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt or even knock out the electronics on which our urbanized, Internet-obsessed, data-saturated society depends. Less feared, but also a problem, are solar flares, or eruptions of super-charged protons that can reach Earth in just minutes.”
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