A 12,000-Mile-Deep 'Canyon Of Fire' Has Opened On The Sun, Releasing Intense Solar Wind Toward Earth

The Sun's hot gases are trapped in an eternal dance of seething plasma that periodically escapes our star's atmosphere and is slung out into the solar system, with some of it causing havoc on the Earth's magnetic field.

Over the weekend, a filament of that plasma escaped the Sun, creating what Space Weather refers to as a "canyon of fire," a deep ridge more than 12,000 miles deep and 10 times the length of the Earth's Grand Canyon — which is more than 13,000 times deeper than the Earth's Grand Canyon.

According to Space Weather, the canyon itself may soon spew radiation fragments in the form of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) toward the Earth, a reminder of the ferocity of the cosmic object that gave birth to our solar system's planets billions of years ago.

Once this radiation reaches our atmosphere, it may cause a geomagnetic storm, a significant disruption in the magnetosphere of our planet.

While such an event may seem catastrophic on paper, it is more probable that these storms may influence orbital systems like GPS and communications satellites, which may face increased drag and possible inaccuracies in their radio messages during these occurrences.

Storms may also result in geomagnetic generated currents, which can cause permanent damage to electrical systems on the ground.

However, one of the most frequent side effects of these CMEs colliding with the Earth's surface is something much more benign: breathtaking auroras that illuminate the night sky in brilliant hues.

For the time being, scientists are awaiting the onslaught of radiation-induced by the newest CME – and, according to Space Weather, some are prepared to go on an aircraft and see the amazing display from above.

Reference(s): SpaceWeather, Livescience

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