Solar superstorms are one of the most magnificent natural phenomenons to witness as we recently saw from the flood of images showing off the aurora over the UK.
— Met Office (@metoffice) June 23, 2015
However, like all forces of nature it does carry with it the potential to destroy and a new film from the National Science Foundation, aims to answer the most important question around our star's detrimental side: “What can cause our normally benign sun to erupt in such fury that it can threaten the world's power and technological infrastructure?"
In its quest to delve deeper into the sun, the film, which is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, uses a series of computer simulations that aside from being informative, provide a glorious visual of how solar winds would interact with the Earth's magnetic field during one of these storms.
For example this picture shows how the solar plasma would influence the earth's magnetic field:
According to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, these "large disturbances, including high velocity jets, can...result in space weather effects such as loss of communications satellites and widespread blackouts."
The documentary premiered last night in the US and will roll out to France on July 4 and then a few cities across Europe.
The groundbreaking visualisations are the result of a joint collaboration between NCSA, University of Illinois, Thomas Lucas Productions and Spitz Creative Media.