Extreme Solar Eruption Caught On Camera

  • Released Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:53PM
  • ID: 3832

A massive spray of high-energy particles blasted from the sun and shot into space during a magnificent solar eruption captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. The spectacular event took place on June 7, 2011 over a period of six hours when an M-2 class (medium-sized) solar flare, a large prominence eruption, and a coronal mass ejection were observed from sunspot complex 1226-1227. Scientists estimate hot plasma and powerful X-rays burst into the sun's atmosphere and exited the corona at speeds over 3 million mph. Trapped particles unable to reach escape velocity traversed the solar sky in evanescent arcs, some traveling more than 215,000 miles, and showered the surface in a speckled array of bright flashes as the fiery sphere reheated the slightly cooled material. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument on SDO recorded the event at multiple wavelengths using its extreme UV sensor and transmitted the images to Earth in awesome 16.8 mega-pixel resolution. Watch a time-lapse video of the eruption below and relive the moment.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


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