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NASA

Submission + - Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth (nasa.gov)

Low Ranked Craig writes: On August 1st around 0855 UT, Earth orbiting satellites detected a C3-class solar flare. The origin of the blast was Earth-facing sunspot 1092. Coronal mass ejections (or CMEs) are large clouds of charged particles that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons (1016 grams) of plasma. They expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as a million miles an hour. A CME can make the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just three to four days. When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, it interacts with our planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. The last solar maximum occurred in 2001 and its recent extreme solar minimum was particularly weak and long lasting. These kinds of eruptions are one of the first signs that the Sun is waking up and heading toward another solar maximum expected in the 2013 time frame.

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