1. Dr. Art Poland, an astrophysicist, says both solar flares and coronal mass ejections are the result of magnetic activity on the sun. What is the basic difference between the two phenomena?

      Solar flares develop much more rapidly, with much more energy, than coronal mass ejections.

    2. Solar flares have very high temperatures. They release energy in what high-frequency parts of the electromagnetic spectrum?

      Solar flares can produce x-rays and even gamma rays.

    3. How quickly do the particles in a coronal mass ejection travel?

      Very! The material in a coronal mass ejection travels at about 200-1000 kilometers per second (124-621 miles per second).

    4. What soar phenomenon do you think produces shorter wavelengths?

      Solar flares usually produce shorter wavelengths, sometimes including gamma rays. High-frequency, short-wavelength gamma rays are the most energetic type of radiation in the universe.

    5. It takes about two days for the cloud of material produced by a coronal mass ejection to reach and interact with Earth's magnetosphere. What phenomena are associated with this interaction?

      The Northern and Southern Lights (aurora borealis and aurora australis) are often associated with coronal mass ejections. Coronal mass ejections may also disrupt radio and satellite signals, and even interfere with electric power grids on Earth.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    astrophysicist Noun

    person who studies the relationship between matter, energy, motion, and force outside the Earth's atmosphere.

    coronal mass ejection Noun

    huge burst of solar wind and other charged particles.

    gamma radiation Noun

    very high-frequency electromagnetic radiation.

    magnetism Noun

    force by which objects attract or repel one another.

    Encyclopedic Entry: magnetism
    magnetosphere Noun

    magnetic field surrounding a planet.

    solar flare Noun

    explosion in the sun's atmosphere, which releases a burst of energy and charged particles into the solar system.

    sun Noun

    star at the center of our solar system.

    X-ray Noun

    radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum with a very short wavelength and very high energy.