EYES ON THE STORM-TOSSED SUN

NEW OBSERVATIONS YIELD STARTLING GLIMPSES OF OUR STAR'S TURBULENT INTERIOR

If you think hurricanes and tornadoes are powerful, take a look at the sun's periodic storms. Kicking up twisting arcs of fiery gases, solar eruptions from that great thermonuclear reactor in the sky can stretch as far as the distance from Earth to the moon. The most intense outbursts explode a billion tons of material off the sun's searing (11,000[degrees]F) surface at speeds of millions of miles an hour. If these electrically charged particles happen to slam against Earth's atmosphere, they can imperil astronauts, push satellites out of orbit or fry their circuitry. If they hit the ground, they can turn...