A huge tendril of super-hot plasma that had been creeping across the face of the sun erupted Tuesday (Sept. 2) in a striking solar storm that may send a wave of charged particles in Earth’s direction.
Video of the solar eruption captured by NASA’s sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a cloud of solar plasma being hurled from the sun’s surface during the rippling blast.
Debris from the solar explosion could be traveling in the direction of Earth, according to Spaceweather.com, which tracks stargazing and space weather events. Further observations should confirm whether the eruption was actually an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection, or CME.
CMEs occur when the sun’s magnetic field lines become so warped that they snap like rubber bands then reconnect at other points. These breaks can leave gaps where the sun’s plasma spews into space. CMEs can occasionally spark geomagnetic storms when they collide with Earth. These disturbances can interfere with electronics, cause radio blackouts and produce stunning auroras.
Click here to read more.