This is What Can Happen When a CME Hits Earth

by Nancy Atkinson on March 24, 2013

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This video taken by Göran Strand from Östersund, Sweden shows what happened on March 17, 2013 when a Coronal Mass Ejection hit Earth’s magnetic field. Two days earlier, sunspot AR1692 had produced a M1-class solar flare that resulted in the CME that hit Earth.

This time lapse from an all-sky camera captures the magnificent sky show between 19:20 and 23:35 UT on the 17th.

Strand said via email that this time lapse consists of 2464 raw images for a total data amount of 30Gb from the 17th. The stunning photo of the Sun is a hydrogen alpha mosaic he made from 10 images that was captured on March 16.

Beautiful!

The size of Earth compared to sunspot AR1692 on March 15, 2013. Screenshot from the video by Göran Strand.

The size of Earth compared to sunspot AR1692 on March 15, 2013. Screenshot from the video by Göran Strand.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Bunnyman09 March 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Just breathtaking, nearly unbelievable. How I wish I could have witnessed that.

Ronald edward geater March 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM

please look back at the late doctor carl sagan comments about life throughout the universe

Me March 24, 2013 at 4:57 PM

This has been my field of work for over 35+ yrs.. Protecting all Sats/Sat-Coms up there has been a real effort. Yes, the people who are involved in all the companies who build Sats have done a decent job so far.The realization of a real large CME like happened in the mid-late 1800′s is all too real. Just 30% of all Sats would cause banking, TV-radio, internet communications, USA’s Defense, State, Commerce & etc’s depts, would crash w/horrible scenario(s) for/to us all. It is those “HUGE” CME’s that are cause for serious concern. No matter what is said by those not in this field. We have yet to really experience a high level CME to date in our early 21st Century information age.

Also, another scenario, is the effects of a Tunguska like asteroid/comet. That scenario has not yet happened over a populated area. Although yet to be determined. We can visualize the horrible scenario’s. Both CME’s & a Tunguska like event have their own devastating implications. Awareness & not panic is so needed. Take care all.

Ian Sinclair March 25, 2013 at 3:05 AM

Just as with Duh Internet, 95% of the traffic on DoD, State, and FED.gov pipes in general, is irrelevant “fluff”, the result of overpaid, over-pensioned, overweight bureaucrats meeting the min. requisite of “showing up”… and surfing Ebay. So a 30% reduction in com-satt channels would merely startle, and test the mettle and mental agility, of such sclerotic minded tax-trough slurpers… OTOH, ULA, SpaceX, ESA, etc. would *LOVE* to launch all the new & improved birds. PS: Is the Sun still under warranty??? ;^)

Me March 25, 2013 at 4:39 AM

Yes, gov players are over paid. Over the line w/theft also. Lies by the dozens. The ESA is better in installing new equipment, or ‘birds’ as you call them. The US gov is too busy feeding other countries our monies. Now that is Fluff. LOL @ the sun under warranty.
Well, yes, the sun is still under warranty. I like calling him, “Ole Man Sol”. He is good for another 3.5 billion safe years or so. But after that, you must dial 1-800-SHIPOUT. Why? Because Ole Man Sol will incinerate all the inner planets all the way up to red planet I suspect. Reserve you tix now! :-)…Take care Ian, see ya on the ‘ship-out;..

Tony Trenton March 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Yes. I agree.

Politicians are known to be the worst type of people for the job.

But in truth We vote them in !

Because they are our choice we must accept responsibility for our lousy choices.

Democracy is far from perfect but it is the best we have.

Unless of course you prefer a dictator ?

Brenda Jean Louise March 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM

What a show.

TAReece March 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Thank you Goran and Nancy… We take the Sun for granted I believe. We need to remember who the boss really is in the Solar System. Breathtakingly beautiful. Both the shot of the sun and the eventual night time show that lasted 4 hours 2 days later some 150,000,000 kilometers later.

Bert McDirt March 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Imagine the sight of aurorae in our planet’s atmosphere from space. Now you can see why the planets were huge, living presences to the ancients. Their atmospheres were almost complete plasma under the Sun’s intense irradiation.

CallanTFC March 27, 2013 at 3:49 AM

Anyone else feel like yelling “Avada Kedavra” when looking at the still shot at the end of the video?? Hehehe Nice work Mr. Strand

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