Here’s more video from the huge explosion on the Sun on June 7, 2011, which began at about 06:41 UTC. Not only was this event one of the most spectacular ever recorded, but also one of the best observed, with complementary data from several spacecraft and different vantage points. This video shows data from three different space observatories. The Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly recorded the amazing event in stunning detail in different wavelengths. Additionally, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory’s (SOHO) LASCO coronagraph and STEREO’s (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) SECCHI instrument suite observed the prominence and associated CME as they traveled out into the heliosphere. Using LASCO and SECCHI data, the speed of the leading edge of the CME was estimated to be in the range 1200 – 1600 km/s. Model calculations predict that Earth will receive a glancing blow of the CME on June 10, possibly sparking some nice aurorae at high latitudes, according to the SDO team.
The citizen science project Solar Storm Watch predicts a solar storm to reach Earth at 08:00 UTC on June 10, 2011 with a glancing blow 35 degrees behind Earth, with a second storm expected at 19:00 UTC on June 10, 2011, with another glancing blow 32 degrees behind Earth.
The event originated from the almost spotless active region 11226 and was associated with a moderate M2-class X-ray flare. The CME and associated shock wave produced and S1-class radiation storm, which shows up as speckles in the LASCO movies.
The size of the prominence is thought to be at least 75 times the size of Earth. Our Jason Major created a graphic showing the size comparison. Earth is the little teeny tiny blue circle in the top left corner:
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.