Cannibal CME

  • Released Thursday, March 20th, 2003
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:57PM
  • ID: 20067

This sequence of images is from a computer animation illustrating an artist's concept of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cannibalism. Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are clouds of electrified, magnetic gas weighing billions of tons ejected from the Sun and hurled into space with speeds ranging from 12 to 1,250 miles per second (about 20 to 2,000 kilometers per second). The first CME blasts from the right side of the sun (bright, white area), and as it expands into space, it becomes fainter. A second CME erupts from near the same region on the Sun as the first CME, appearing as another bright burst on the right side of the Sun. The second CME is moving faster than the first, and it overtakes and assimilates the first CME in frames four through six. Solar researchers believe cannibal CMEs may be the source of 'complex ejecta' CME clouds; those with a larger and more complex structure than typical CMEs. These traits cause complex ejecta CMEs to trigger protracted magnetic storms when they envelop the Earth.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab


This visualization can be found in the following series: