Image Credit: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
The power of the sun is displayed in this image taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on November 2, 2013.
Fortunately, this huge CME was facing away from Earth at the time.
The outer solar atmosphere, the corona, is structured by strong magnetic fields. Where these fields are closed, often above sunspot groups, the confined solar atmosphere can suddenly and violently release bubbles of gas and magnetic fields called coronal mass ejections. A large CME can contain a billion tons of matter that can be accelerated to several million miles per hour in a spectacular explosion. Solar material streams out through the interplanetary medium, impacting any planet or spacecraft in its path.
SOHO is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA.
A solar prominence began to bow out and the broke apart in a graceful, floating style in a little less than four hours (Mar. 16, 2013). The sequence was captured in extreme ultraviolet light. A large cloud of the particles appeared to hover further out above the surface before it faded away.
Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA
Image Credit: NASA
The Mars Rover Curiosity hunkered down Wednesday after the sun unleashed the blast shown above toward the red planet.
The rover was designed to withstand extreme space weather, but scientists agreed to power it down as a precaution since it suffered a recent computer glitch.
“We’re being more careful,” said project manager Richard Cook of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which runs the $2.5 billion mission.
On March 5th, the ‘SOHO observatory’ noticed a huge flare that erupted from the suns far side hurling a stream of radiation in Mars’ direction. The solar burst also spawned a cloud of superheated gas that barreled toward the red planet at 2 million mph.
WATCH THE SOHO MOVIE AT THE LINK BELOW:
On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced a moderately powerful solar flare and a dazzling magnetic display known as coronal rain. Hot plasma in the corona cooled and condensed along strong magnetic fields in the region. Magnetic fields, are invisible, but the charged plasma is forced to move along the lines, showing up brightly in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 Angstroms, and outlining the fields as it slowly falls back to the solar surface.
Music: ‘Thunderbolt’ by Lars Leonhard, courtesy of artist.