Solar fireworks spotted by NASA

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA/Goddard) – On July 2, 2012, an M5.6 class solar flare erupted in the Sun’s southern hemisphere from large Sunspot 1515. It peaked at 6:52 AM EDT. This video was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite in the 304 ultraviolet wavelength.

This view of the July 2, 2012 M5.6 class solar flare was captured by the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite. Credit: NASA/SDO

This view of the July 2, 2012 M5.6 class solar flare was captured by the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite. Credit: NASA/SDO

From a different spot, but on that same day, the sun unleashed a coronal mass ejection (CME) that began at 4:36 AM EDT. Models from the NASA’s Space Weather Center at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, describe the CME at traveling at nearly 700 miles per second, but do not show it heading toward Earth.

What is a solar flare? What is a coronal mass ejection?
For answers to these and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page.

Karen C. Fox
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

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