Explosions of boiling plasma, matter speeding through the galaxy at a million miles an hour, structures much bigger than the Sun -- these are not the special effects in this summer's hottest movie. They are just some of the events that occur in relation to our very own Sun, that bright light in the sky.
The Sun's activities range from producing dark sunspots to expelling matter in huge explosions called coronal mass ejections, all the while giving off the heat energy we know so well. Activity on the Sun (like sunspots, flares, and solar storms) follows an eleven-year "sunspot cycle" or "solar cycle" from minimum to maximum.
Solar maximum -- which falls during the year 2000 -- means that the Sun will produce more "space weather" (explosions that happen at the Sun and can cause magnetic storms and aurora on Earth) than usual. This means an exciting time for scientists, but it can also affect everyone: magnetic storms can knock out power and communications or disturb satellites.
To know the basics of the current solar maximum,
explore this site. You may be surprised at what that bright light in the sky