THE SUN BLEW OUT TWO sizeable ‘coronal mass ejections’ that headed in just about opposite directions over about a two-day period (July 24-25, 2011). Both of these were from the far side of the Sun and had no impact on Earth.
A coronal mass ejection, or CME, is a huge magnetic bubble of plasma that erupts from the Sun’s corona (the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere) and travels through space at high speed.
In the video—which has been put together from a series of still images and sped up—the Sun (represented real-size by the white circle) and some additional area around it is blocked out with an occulting disc so that the fainter details in the corona can be seen.
To give you an idea of the size of these CMEs, look at the white circle that represents the Sun and remember that the Sun is 109 times wider than the Earth!
The images were taken by the STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft.
Adapted from information issued by NASA.
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