June 15, 2012
Incoming Coronal Mass Ejection Coming On June 16
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Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com
The sun is a ferocious, hot mess, and this week it showed off through a coronal mass ejection just how messy it can get.
An active region on the sun fired off two M-class flares and two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) this week.
NASA said the first flare lasted for three hours, and peaked on June 13 at 9:17 a.m. EDT. The CME associated with the flare traveled up at approximately 375 miles per second.
The second flare peaked on Friday morning at 10:08 a.m. EDT, jutting out a CME that is fluttering towards the Earth at a mere 800 miles per second. This CME is not only traveling towards our planet, but could also impact Mars and the Spitzer spacecraft.
CMEs are a good indication that space weather is approaching, and this time, Thursday and Friday's events will be arriving at Earth on June 16. Despite the loud bark CMEs often give out, they typically have no bite, and the Space Weather Center did not send out any special warnings of unusual space weather due to these events.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory helps provide scientists with a unique view of our closest star. SDO helps scientists understand where the Sun's energy comes from, and how the inside of the Sun works.
"By better understanding the Sun and how it works, we will be able to better predict and better forecast the 'weather out in space' providing earlier warnings to protect our astronauts and satellites floating around out there," NASA said on its website.
The spacecraft is designed to fly for five years, and has been collecting large amounts of data since it was initially launched back in February, 2010.