Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, A Massive Blast from the Sun

By Tom Yulsman | July 22, 2013 10:51 pm

NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft captured this picture of a coronal mass ejection exploding into space from the left side of the sun on July 19, 2013. (Image: NASA/Stereo)

Man, there’s a lot going on in the solar system today…

A few minutes ago I posted Cassini’s portrait of Earth as a pale blue dot floating in the blackness of space almost 900 million miles beyond Saturn’s luminously beautiful rings. And no sooner did I hit the return button on my keyboard than I spotted this image, taken much closer to home…

You’re looking at an image captured by NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft just as the sun let loose a blast of billions of tons of particles into space at more than 700 miles per second — a coronal mass ejection, or CME. The bright disk of the sun is blacked out so the CME can be visualized. And the bright spot at lower right is Mercury.

The bolus of particles from the sun’s corona (it’s outer atmosphere), is not headed our way. But it may pass by Mars.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, select, Sun, Top Posts
  • Czechster

    Most impressive.

  • John Ackerman

    CMEs are the result of impacts on the Sun.

  • Ken Albertsen

    If that blast was directed towards Earth, how would that affect things here?



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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