May 3 (): NASA using its Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite has captured video images of a massive explosion that erupted from the edge of the sun on May 1, Wednesday.
The sun erupted from just around the edge of the sun in a gigantic rolling wave, releasing a colossal wave of super-hot plasma. The spectacularly bright wave of plasma extended from the surface of the sun and then erupted from the sun’s side, or limb, into open space.
The solar eruption occurred over a 2.5-hour period on May 1st. Scientists call the solar eruption as a coronal mass ejection (CME) — a type of sun storm that can fire off billions of tons of solar material at more than a million miles per hour.
When aimed directly at Earth, the most powerful CME events can cause risk to satellites and astronauts in orbit, as well as affect navigations and communications networks. They can even damage ground-based power infrastructure. But, the May Day solar eruption occurred on the side of the sun and was not aimed at Earth, NASA officials said.
The US space agency said that none of the particles shot into space are expected to impact Earth as the CME is headed in a different direction. Last year, after massive solar flares and the resultant heavy northern lights, many flights were diverted and some even cancelled in Europe.
At present, the sun is in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle and is expected to reach its peak activity this year.
A NASA mission, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched on February 11, 2010, will observe the Sun for over five years. SDO records constant high-definition views of the sun in several different wavelengths, including the extreme ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. The video of the solar eruption is taken in extreme ultraviolet light by SDO for about two and a half hours.