Global Warming
Uh, yeah, its caused by global warming, yeah, that's it!
The Sun lashed out with two plasma eruptions one after the other early on Friday morning. NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) spotted the solar flares, when red-hot loops of plasma burst out of the surface of the Sun. The flares both happened within a four-hour window between 6am and 10am GMT, when prominences in the Sun …
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Lets see, distance of Earth from Sun, 150 Million Km Therefore the surface area of the sphere around the earths orbit is, hmm 4.PI.R^2 = 2.8 x 10^17 sq Km. Radius of the earth is 6400 Km, so the area of the earth is the area of a circle of this radius, so PI.r^2 = 1.3 x 10^7 sq Km.
So the ratio of these gives us the probability that a random solar flare will hit earth. or approx 2 x 10^9, or 1 in 2 Billion.
If you start at the sun, pick a random direction and fire something tiny, like the moon then the chance of hitting the Earth are about 1 in 2 billion. Coronal mass ejections are big - similar to the size of the sun when they start. They spread out. I could not find an decisive figure for how much they spread out. The closest I could find to a useful number was 0.25au long. If we pretend that CME's are 0.25au wide when they pass Earth orbit (1au) then the chances of a hit are about 1 in 250.
If someone knows a vaguely sensible number for the diameter of a CME when gets 1au from the sun, please speak up. I have almost no confidence in that 0.25au guess.