NASA Captures Massive Coronal Mass Ejection Images

First Posted: Feb 02, 2013 11:39 PM EST

According to NASA, they have discovered a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun directed towards earth.

On Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:09am EST, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME.

A CME is a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space.

Coronal mass ejections are often associated with other forms of solar activity, most notably solar flares, but a causal relationship has not been established.

"The plasma glowed brightly in extreme ultraviolet images from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and scientists were able to watch for the first time the very formation of something they had long theorized was at the heart of many eruptive events on the sun: a flux rope," NASA stated.

The largest CMEs eject many billion tons of solar matter, which streams outwards from the sun to hit planets and spacecraft.

The particles, moving at approximately 575 miles per second - around 2.07 million miles per hour - will get to earth within three days.

NASA says that it is unlikely to cause any interference with satellites or electrical systems on earth, however it may increase aurora activity close to the poles.

NASA used the Solar and Helioscopic Observatory (SOHO) to capture images of the coronal mass ejection as it was moving away from the sun and out into space.

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