On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, with a glancing blow. causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3.
Image of the Earth to scale with the filament eruption. Note: the Earth is not this close to the sun, this image is for scale purposes only.
An overlay blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths.
The August 31 2012 coronal mass ejection shown in four different extreme ultraviolet wavelengths at 19:49 UT. Clockwise from upper left, the wavelengths are: 335, 171, 131, 304 angstroms.
This movie shows the ejection from a variety of viewpoints as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).