This big! The M1.7-class flare that erupted from active region 1461 on Monday, April 16 let loose an enormous coronal mass ejection many, many times the size of Earth, making this particular writer very happy that our planet was safely tucked out of aim at the time… and 93 million miles away.
The image above was obtained by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA 304 imaging instrument on Monday during the height of the event. I rotated the disk of the Sun 90 degrees to get a landscape look over the eastern limb, cropped it down and then added an Earth image to scale — just to show how fantastically huge our home star really is.
Some minor editing was done to increase contrast and heighten detail in the eruption.
The CME was not directed our way, but it was aimed at NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft, which will encounter the ejected material full-on.
Image credit: NASA/SDO and the AIA science team. Edited by Jason Major.
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!