August 28, 2012
New Coronal Mass Ejection Looks Like A Light Bulb
Watch the Video: Lightbulb Shaped CME
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The sun sent off another coronal mass ejection (CME) last week, but this time the plasma burst showed up in the form of a light bulb.
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) caught the CME light bulb with its Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) C2 instrument.
This instrument is able to take images of the solar corona by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulted disk, allowing it to focus better on what the sun is outputting.
During the August 20 eruption, the CME can be seen forming a shape like an incandescent light bulb from 5.25 million miles away.
SOHO isn't the only instrument NASA has in its repertoire for observing our closet star. The space agency started using the Solar Dynamics Observatory back in 2010.
SDO is capable of providing images with clarity 10 times better than high-definition television, and is providing NASA with a better understanding of the sun's magnetic field and the role it plays when interacting with Earth.
The first images were received from SDO back in April 2010, showing the diversity of the sun's temperatures, as well as its ferocious activity.