The sun sends enormous amounts of energy toward Earth, but why don’t coronal mass ejections cause the same type of havoc as they do for Mercury and Venus? The answer is explained in a NASA animation titled, “Dynamic Earth: Coronal Mass Ejection And Ocean/Wind Circulation.”
According to NASA, it’s a collection of charged particles around the Earth — known as the magnetosphere — that protect the Earth from the sun’s rays while still allowing an enormous amount of energy to reach the planet’s surface.
For example, scientists were on alert for associated coronal mass ejections in May when powerful solar flares erupted. None occurred at the time, but if so, these eruptions could cause geomagnetic storms, disrupting Earth’s magnetosphere.
Energy from the sun that does get through the magnetosphere eventually impacts everything from climate and weather to winds and constantly swirling ocean currents.
As Mashable notes, NASA created this video based on advanced models and actual data from the solar system.
According to Popular Science, the 4-minute clip is an excerpt from the 24-minute long film, “Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth’s Climate Engine,” which is currently playing at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.