We think of storms as strictly a phenomenon of Earth's atmosphere, but there are storms in the atmospheres of other planets and even on our Sun. Space weather is a growing scientific endeavor, and it has potential ramifications here on Earth. The Sun is known to produce occasional severe storms called "coronal mass ejections," which are an ejection of plasma and the associated magnetic field into space.

A moderately strong CME in March of 1989 produced atmospheric aurora visible over most of the world and caused a nine-hour power outage in Quebec, affecting six million people. A very strong CME in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, caused considerable damage to the newly developed telegraph system in the United States. We cannot predict when the next CME will take place, but a very strong one would have the potential to cause severe and long-lasting power disruptions around the world.

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