Nasa releases video and images showing solar flares and coronal mass ejections shooting from the Sun
Wednesday 15 May 2013
Nasa has released a video and a set of images showing solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) shooting out of the Sun, sending billions of tonnes of particles into space.
In the video, an X1.7-class and an X2.8-class flare, along with two CMEs, can be seen exploding on the upper left side of the sun and releasing matter. Luckily, the particles were not travelling in the direction of the Earth.
CMEs are bursts of solar wind on the sun’s surface, while solar flares are releases of radiation and are usually a precursor to CMEs.
The first two flares have been followed up by a third one which exploded yesterday. It was classified as an X3.2 flare, making it the strongest one so far this year. According to Nasa the flare was associated with a CME.
The flares were followed by CMEs and from the space agency’s research, it is suggested that the third CME left the sun at 1,400 miles per second, which is considered to be fast.
The CME will catch up with up with the first two, and the solar matter will pass by the Spitzer spacecraft, however it could make contact with the STEREO-B and Epoxi spacecraft.
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