Sun erupts with an extraordinary mass ejection
Posted: January 5, 2002

SOHO view of Friday's Coronal Mass Ejection. Photo: SOHO/LASCO (ESA & NASA)
The Sun unlashed a powerful eruption Friday and the SOHO instruments recorded maybe the most complex coronal mass ejection (CME) seen since the launch of the observatory six years ago. The CME was initiated by an eruptive prominence on the northeast solar limb and is therefore not heading towards the Earth.

The images from the LASCO coronagraph show a very rapidly expanding coronal mass ejection (CME) blasting billions of tons of particles out from the Sun at about 3.5 million kilometers per hour. The complex structures are caused by magnetic filed structures that were ejected from the Sun.

The Sun, blocked by an occulting disk, is represented by the white circle. The bright object just to the right of the Sun is the planet Venus. The bright horisontla streaks is an artifact of the LASCO detector since the planet is too bright for the detector.

SOHO image a few hours later than the one above. Photo: SOHO/LASCO (ESA & NASA)