Immense twisting solar eruptions are filled with ionised helium gas at a temperature of 60,000 degrees Centigrade. (As observed by the SOHO satellite in extreme ultraviolet light.)
The Earth is bombarded by proton, electron and alpha particles from the Sun. These solar winds are powerful enough to separate the atmosphere from the Earth. However, it will take about five times longer than the total life of the Sun at the Earth's present rate of matter loss (at most 3 kg per second.) for the atmosphere to be used up.31That is because, thanks to the powerful magnetic field formed by the magnetosphere in the atmosphere, the Earth is to some extent protected from this powerful erosion. The loss of ions-oxygen, helium and hydrogen-dispersed over the Earth's ionosphere layer into the depths of space is of much smaller dimensions than the vast layer of air surrounding the Earth. Even so, the amount leaking into space is nevertheless of a significant size.32
Thanks to NASA spacecraft, researchers have obtained concrete evidence that energy explosions on the Sun cause oxygen and other gases to disperse into space from the outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere. Scientists first observed that the Earth experiences a loss of matter from its outer layers on September 24-25, 1998.33
However, the above verses may also be referring to the loss of land on Earth in another regard.
At the present time, the polar ice caps are melting and the water level in the oceans is rising. The increasing quantity of water is covering ever more land. As coastal areas come under water, the land surface or total amount of land is decreasing.34The expression "eroding it from its extremities" in the above verses may well be pointing to coastal areas being covered by water.
A New York Times report on this subject reads:
Over the last century, the average surface temperature of the globe has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, and the rate of warming has accelerated in the last quarter-century. That is a significant amount… Previous studies of satellite and submarine observations have seemed to establish a warming trend in the northern polar region and raise the possibility of a melting icecap. Scientists at the Goddard Space Science Institute, a NASA research center in Manhattan, compared data from submarines in the 1950's and 1960's with 1990's observations, demonstrating that the ice cover over the entire Arctic basin has thinned by 45 percent. Satellite images have revealed that the extent of ice coverage has significantly shrunk in recent years.35
The findings made towards the end of the 20th century help us to understand the wisdom of Surat ar-Ra'd 41, and Surat al-Anbiya' 44.
2. 8 minutes : Ultraviolet and x-ray emissions travelling at the speed of light can block out radio broadcasts.
3. 30 minutes: Charged particles at a high energy level can threaten satellites and high-flying jets.
4. Between 48 minutes and 96 hours: The Earth’s magnetic field is disrupted by mass solar particles. The effect of this is to endanger electricity networks.
5. THE MAGNETOSPHERE is a region in space occupied by the Earth’s magnetic field. It usually extends for 64,000 kilometres (40,000 miles) towards the Sun, although powerful solar storms can compress the magnetosphere to a mere 42,000 kilometres (26,000 miles), leaving satellites outside exposed to solar winds.
This loss at the extremities, as revealed by Allah, may be understood in light of another scientific fact revealed in the Qur'an. The fact that the Earth, which revolves around its own axis, has a geoid shape, is a fact that has gained acceptance in recent centuries.
Research has revealed that the Earth keeps bulging at the equator.
Research has revealed that the equatorial diameter of the Earth expands under the effect of the force stemming from this rotation, and that it is compressed at its extremities, in other words the poles. Furthermore, since the Earth is in constant rotation this change continues to occur. Indeed, the term "nanqusu" in Surat ar-Ra'd 41, translated as "eroding," shows that this process of erosion is an ongoing one.
It is the force of gravity that has given such celestial bodies as the Earth their spherical form. However, that shape is not exactly spherical; it flattens out somewhat at the poles and thickens at the equator. According to NASA figures, the radius of the Earth is 6,378.1 km (3,963.2 miles) at the equator but only 6,356.8 km (3,949.9 miles) from pole to pole.36 This is a difference of some 0.3%.
This model of the shape of the Earth was suggested by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687. This fact, revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago, is another of its scientific miracles.
Caption: Research has revealed that the Earth keeps bulging at the equator.
Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth. There is certainly a Sign in that for the believers.
31. “Press Release,” Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), 9 March 2001, www.irf.se/press/press_010309eng.html.
32. “Solar Wind Blows Some of Earth’s Atmosphere into Space,” NASA, http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast08dec98_1.htm.
34. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur'an, 115.
35. John Noble Wilford, “Ages-Old Icecap at North Pole Is Now Liquid, Scientists Find,” New York Times, 19 August 2000, www.planetwaves.net/polar_NYT.html.