Sun  ID: 3902

A Coronal Mass Ejection strikes the Earth!

Energetic events on the Sun have impacts throughout the Solar System. This visualization, developed for the Dynamic Earth dome show, utilizes data from space weather models based on a real coronal mass ejection (CME) event from mid-December 2003.

Particles are used to represent the flow of solar material from the Sun around the Earth. It is important to note that the flowing material of the CME are actually ions and electrons far too small to see. This visualization tries to represent the motions of these tiny particles in a form large enough for us to see.

We open with a close-up view of the Earth, the particles representing the solar wind streaming around the Earth due to extended influence of the Earth's magnetic field. We pull out from the Earth and move so that we see the Sun in the distance. The enormous density enhancement in the solar wind is the coronal mass ejection. As the CME reaches the Earth, we see how effective the Earth's magnetic field is at diverting the solar material around the Earth. As the CME passes, we move earthward, and reveal the field lines representing the Earth's magnetic field, emanating from the magnetic poles and blown behind the Earth due to the influence of the solar wind. For simplicity, we have represented the Earth's magnetic field as unchanging, but it is actually very dynamic in its response to a CME or other change in the solar wind.



Visualization Credits

Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Tom Bridgman (GST): Animator
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Luhmann-Friesen Magnetosphere Model (1979)/Magnetic Field Lines (Luhmann-Friesen)
Enlil Heliospheric Model 2006/12/11-2006/12/15
BATS-R-US Magnetosphere Model 2006/12/14-2006/12/15
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of these series:
Space Weather Modeling
Dome Show Planetarium
Dynamic Earth Dome Show

SVS >> Magnetosphere
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Coronal Properties
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Sun
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Coronal Mass Ejections

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version