George Mason University scientists have discovered that giant magnetic ropes are the cause of solar storms. Jie Zheng and Xin Cheng used images from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. It seems they are a long suspected process but could not previously be seen as the ropes moves extremely quickly. Magnetic ropes trigger solar eruptions which send charged plasma into space. When the magnetised cloud reaches earth a huge amount of energy comes into contact with the magnetosphere of the earth. Some big solar storms disrupt the magnetosphere (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/15/scientists-prove-existence-of-magn… . A magnetic rope contains magnetic field lines that twist around each other. The electric current produced can be carried by the rope and is able to power the magnetic rope to move outwards – the solar flare. The research was reported at an American Astronomical Society 'Solar Physics Division' meeting in New Mexico, June 12-16tgh (links to images are provided).