Today at 7:35 UT, hours before the final Discovery shuttle launch, the Sun had a launch of its own: an M3-class solar flare spewed a giant plume of material hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Luckily this ejection was not facing Earth at the time, but the active region responsible is gradually rotating into view from the Sun’s western limb.
The animation above shows the coronal mass ejection associated with the flare, made from eight images taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory using its AIA 304 imaging camera.
It can’t be said for sure whether or not this active region will produce more Earth-directed flares once it rotates our way, but we sill find out for sure within the next week!
Credit: Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams. Animation by J. Major.