Yesterday, the sun spewed an enormous bubble of magnetically charged plasma towards Earth. Based on observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and ESA/NASA's Solar Heliospheric Observatory, NASA reports that two coronal mass ejections erupted at 9:55am EST on January 23, 2013 and one shot towards earth at a speed of over one million miles per hour.
The sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, is wrapped by strong magnetic fields that trap the sun's plasma to its surface. At times, the magnetic field lines will snap and reconnect at other points on the sun's surface and the now-unbound plasma spews out into space as a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Large CMEs can contain a billion tons of matter and move several million miles per hour; comparatively, yesterday's CME was more of a dribble.
|A picture of the Feb. 26, |
Muonio, Finland. Image credit: Thomas Kast / NASA
To get space weather alerts (like wunderground – for space!) go to the NOAA prediction center.
Or read more about yesterday's CME here.
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