The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory was able to capture this incredible video of a recent coronal mass ejection (CME) on April 7th from the sun’s surface. What makes this video unique is that it was captured in extreme ultraviolet light, giving it an otherworldly feel.
It’s been widely reported that Sol is entering an active phase, implying that 2012 will be filled with solar flares and solar storms. Chaotic field lines have been cracking around the sun for the past few days. One of these lines produced a modest solar flare in the late hours of April 7th.
The flare generated a CME, which is basically a massive cloud of charged particles that were hurled into space, that can cause auroras. However, in this case, models run by the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggest that it will miss Earth and hit Mercury on April 9th around 02:29 UT. Since Mercury’s magnetic field is comparatively weak, about 10% of Earth’s, and its atmosphere is relatively thin, the particles will hit the planet’s surface and scour it as well as add material to its comet-like tail.
On April 7th 2012, a coronal mass ejection was lofted towards Mercury and set to slam into its ultra-thin atmosphere on April 9th. The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the blast in extreme ultraviolet. Credit: NASA / SDO / Mash Mix: SPACE.com / Original Music by Mark C. Petersen, Loch Ness Productions