AaaaaAAAAHHHH have you seen this!! (It is a solar flare!) This happened last night, you know.
It was an X5, which isn’t the biggest ever although it’s pretty spectacular. The particles are supposed to hit us around now, according to Phil Plait. The worst that will happen is maybe some dropped calls, and the aurorae will be gorgeous.
Gold is fantastically rare, not just on Earth but throughout the cosmos. All the gold ever mined by humankind would fit into a 20 meter cube (about three swimming pools full). As far as we know, the only time gold is created in the universe is during a supernova, in the last few seconds of the death throes of only the most massive stars. As the core collapses at one quarter the speed of light, temperatures reach 100 billion degrees and for just a moment the conditions are right for a supply of loose neutrons to be pushed into existing atoms and synthesize not just gold but every other element heavier than lead. When the star explodes all these heavy elements are ejected into the surrounding cosmos at up to 10% the speed of light, perhaps eventually winding up in a protoplanetary disc and baked into planets and other celestial bodies like our own.
The amount of gold on Earth is believed to have been the result of several supernovae, which are thought to occur in our galaxy only every 50 years. The last supernova observed as it happened was in 1604, visible to the naked eye in broad daylight for three weeks and leaving the remnant shown above.