[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 24-Jan-2013
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Contact: Susan Hendrix
Susan.m.hendrix@nasa.gov
301-286-7745
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Sun shoots out 2 coronal mass ejections

VIDEO: This movie shows two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) erupting from the sun on Jan. 23, 2013. The first was not directed at Earth; the second one is, but is not...

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On Jan. 23, 2013, at 9:55 a.m. EST, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection, or CME. Experimental NASA research models, based on observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and ESA/NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, show that the CME left the sun at speeds of around 375 miles per second, which is a fairly typical speed for CMEs.

Not to be confused with a solar flare, a CME is a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and reach Earth one to three days later.

IMAGE: The second of two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on Jan. 23, 2013, is seen erupting in the top of the picture, away from the sun, which is obscured by the...

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Earth-directed CMEs can cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm, which occurs when they connect with the outside of the Earth's magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time. In the past, CMEs of this speed have not caused substantial geomagnetic storms. They sometimes cause auroras near the poles but are unlikely to affect electrical systems on Earth or interfere with GPS or satellite-based communications systems.

A slightly slower CME that was not Earth-directed, also erupted earlier in the day.

IMAGE: The first of two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on Jan. 23, 2013, can be seen erupting in the lower left portion of this image, from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory....

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

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Updates will be provided if needed.

What is a CME?

For answers to this and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/spaceweather/index.html



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