NASA Detects Earth Directed Coronal Mass Ejection

NASA Spacecraft Detect an Earth Directed Coronal Mass Ejection

The SOHO LASCO C2 instrument captured this image of the Earth-directed CME. SOHO’s coronographs are able to take images of the solar corona by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulter disk. The location of the actual sun is shown with an image taken by SDO. Image Credit: ESA & NASA/SOHO, SDO

Post has been updated to reflect another CME that was detected on August 21, 2013 at 1:24 am EDT….Scroll to the bottom of the page

NASA spacecraft have detected an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection that left the sun at speeds of around 570 miles per second.

On August 20, 2013 at 4:24 am EDT, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon which can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground.

Experimental NASA research models, based on observations from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, show that the CME left the sun at speeds of around 570 miles per second, which is a fairly typical speed for CMEs.

SOHO Captures Image of Earth Directed CME

The SOHO LASCO C3 instrument captured this coronographic image of the Earth-directed CME. The bright white object to the right is the planet Mercury. Image Credit: ESA & NASA/SOHO

Earth-directed CMEs can cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm, which occurs when they funnel energy into Earth’s magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time. The CME’s magnetic fields peel back the outermost layers of Earth’s fields changing their very shape. In the past, geomagnetic storms caused by CMEs of this strength have usually been mild.

Magnetic storms can degrade communication signals and cause unexpected electrical surges in power grids. They also can cause aurora.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (http://swpc.noaa.gov) is the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

Updates will be provided if needed.

Source: Susan Hendrix, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; NASA

Image: ESA & NASA/SOHO, SDO

UPDATE: NASA Detects Another Earth Directed CME

On August 21, 2013 at 1:24 am EDT, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection, or CME, a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space and reach Earth one to three days later.

Experimental NASA research models, based on observations from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, show that the CME left the sun at speeds of around 380 miles per second.

Another Earth Directed CME

This animated GIF shows a faint CME cloud expanding out from the left side of the sun as seen by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Image Credit: ESA & NASA/SOHO, Goddard Space Flight Center

Source: Susan Hendrix, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; NASA

Image: ESA & NASA/SOHO, Goddard Space Flight Center

5 Comments on "NASA Detects Earth Directed Coronal Mass Ejection"

  1. How big of a CME is this? Should we be powering down?

  2. Why NO mention in this Article of the Torpedo that hit the SUN causing the Explosion? This is HUGE

  3. C. Peter O'Connor | August 22, 2013 at 5:41 am | Reply

    Very, droll, Kr!

  4. Pete Willoughby | August 22, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply

    Forgive my ignorance, but, why do these CMEs always look like they are ejecting from the left or right, or from around the polar regions and not actually coming right at us? This one also looks like it is dispersing and cooling very rapidly….

  5. That is amazing, the speed is incredible!

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