Public Release:  Sun spits out a coronal mass ejection

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured this image of the sun at 5:06 a.m. EDT on Oct 5, 2012, showing a coronal mass ejection (CME) spreading away from the... view more

Credit: SOHO (ESA & NASA)

At 11:24 p.m. EDT on Oct. 4, 2012, the sun unleashed a coronal mass ejection (CME). Not to be confused with a solar flare, which is a burst of light and radiation, CMEs are a phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later. Experimental NASA research models show the CME to be traveling at about 400 miles per second.

When Earth-directed, CMEs can affect electronic systems in satellites and on Earth. CMEs of this speed, however, have not generally caused major effects in the past. Further updates will be provided if needed.

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NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center is the United States Government official source for space weather forecasts.

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