A coronal mass ejection was detected on August 1st, 2010 by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and is expected to produce a spectacular aurora (northern lights) display on August 4th and 5th in Canada, northern US, Russia, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Greenland and Finland.

Early on Sunday, a coronal mass ejection (CME) of highly charged particles occurred in the Sun’s surface, sending billions of tons of plasma into space and directly towards Earth. This is the first major Earth-directed eruption in a long time, as the Sun begins to leave its solar minimum stage in its eleventh year of sun spot activity.

The solar plasma interacts with nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth’s magnetic field, causing geomagnetic storms (aurorae or northern lights) which appear as red and green lights in the sky. Geomagnetic storms can cause satellite communication interference, disrupt power grids and radio broadcasts, but this magnitude C3 storm is thought to be too weak to cause any problems.

The images show SDO’s detection of the events leading up to the corona mass ejection, when it saw “a fairly strong active region rotate across the center of the Sun over the course of four and a half days (during the time period of July 23 – 27, 2010).

One image shows the actual corona discharge as the billions of tons of charged particles are flung into space, taking three to four days to arrive at Earth. Spectacular real time Sun observations can be found at the SDO website.

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Via SpaceDaily Articles 1 & 2

Via:www.greenmuze. соm

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