Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sun uncorks a massive solar blast

NASA reports the sun has fired off a spectacular "coronal mass ejection", following a solar flare erupting from a sunspot region. Coronal Mass Ejection as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 7, 2011. "The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area of almost half the solar surface," says a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center team statement. The space agency's Solar Discovery Observer recorded the peak of the blast, which also loosed a minor radiation storm, on Monday. The blast may disrupt some radio signals on Earth but poses no danger overall. Comments astronomer Phil Plait, on his Bad Astronomer blog, "the solar cycle is heating up and we can expect to see more incredible events from our friendly neighborhood star in the coming years."


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