On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth's magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3. Picuted here is a lighten blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths. Cropped Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram

Magnificent CME Erupts on the Sun

Extremely energetic objects permeate the universe. But close to home, the sun produces its own dazzling lightshow, producing the largest explosions in our solar system and driving powerful solar storms.. When solar activity contorts and realigns the sun’s magnetic fields, vast amounts of energy can be driven into space. This phenomenon can create a sudden flash of light—a solar flare.

 Flares typically last a few minutes and unleash energies equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs. The above picture features a filament eruption on the sun, accompanied by solar flares.

 To learn more about solar flares, go to NASA’s SDO mission: www.nasa.gov/sdo

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