Q: Solar flare is to CME:
A: As dog is to cat.
B. As muzzle flash is to cannonball.
C. As bow is to arrow.
ANSWER: B – Muzzle flash is to cannonball.
I don’t ever recall seeing this question on my SAT, but, like it or not, we, and I mean our brother and sister planets, have been playing a game of galactic roulette for billions of years. The sun, our keeper, our destroyer, fires off FLARES & CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS (CME) constantly, but we (Earth) are not the easiest target to hit. The farther away the planet is to the sun, the harder the target is to hit. Of the two, the CME is the one to worry about. These CMEs can shoot off from the sun’s surface in any direction, but hitting us directly s like shooting at clay pigeons with a blindfold on.
Maybe not knowing what is heading our way is bliss, but if you have an inquiring mind, here are some tools to get you informed.
First, sign up on a good space weather app to get alerts. I chose to use NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. A typical alert looks like this: (see below: This was from Nov. 4th, 2021… now, as of this writing). This is a G3, K-index of 7….. considered strong and likely to disrupt HF radio and some navigation. The lucky ones might be able to see an Aurora
Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.
To aid you in what the K-index, NOAA Scale and horizontal Geomagnetic latitude are: use these charts:
Was Mars an unlucky clay pigeon? Maybe one day we will find out.