solar storm, CME,
This CME image from Oct. 7, 2012, captured by two instruments on NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, shows the eruption from its base out into space. The base of the CME near the sun is seen in extreme ultraviolet light emitted directly from the solar material; the growing loop is seen in visible light.NASA/STEREO

Earth is said to be prone to devastating space storms that can wipe out power throughout the world, leaving the planet in complete darkness, and we would get only a 15-minute heads-up!

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The experts would be able to warn us about this disastrous phenomenon just 15 minutes before it takes place.

There are various forms of space storms, and coronal mass ejection (CME) is described as the deadliest one.

CMEs have the potential to send billions of tonnes of matter plunging through space at really high velocities, which could be more than 7 million mph.

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solar storm, CME,
Many technologies of the 21st century are vulnerable to solar storms.NASA

The Sun shooting enormous cloud of magnetised plasma into space creates CMEs, which can destroy satellites and adversely impact power supplies as well as technology.

Giant explosions taking place on the Sun's surface, called solar flares, emit particles and energy into space. CMEs are often linked to these solar flares.

"Coronal mass ejections can travel in any direction from the Sun. If they heading our way their size means they would completely engulf the Earth," Catherine Burnett, manager of the UK Met Office's space weather programme was quoted by the Mirror as saying.

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"It takes a significant coronal mass ejection 19 hours to travel to Earth. But once we have seen a coronal mass ejection leave the Sun, we still will not know until 15 minutes before it reaches Earth what its magnetic orientation is and if we will see any impact," Burnett explained.

"We don't get a very large forecast window to know there is something on the way," she said.

Earth has not been affected by any huge solar storm since the mid-19th century. It takes around a century or two for major space storms to recur, but they can take place anytime.

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The stunning astronomical phenomenon – Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights – is an outcome of some of these storms.

Stronger storms can adversely affect navigation systems and power grids throughout the world.

These storms have the ability to affect even planes and military radio systems, and spacecraft operations. They can also cause damage in power systems and even trigger voltage alarms, a report by the Sun revealed.