Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
August 20, 1998
This complex composite image of an
ominous and spectacular
event - an expanding storm of energetic particles
from the Sun -
was constructed using data recorded by the SOHO spacecraft
on November 6, 1997.
Four images from two SOHO (Solar Orbiting Heliospheric Observatory)
instruments have been nested to show
the ultraviolet Sun at center
and a large eruption of material from the right-hand solar limb.
Known as a Coronal Mass Ejection or CME, the expanding cloud
has become relatively cool and dark in the middle with bright edges
still connected to the solar surface.
High energy protons have peppered the SOHO detectors
causing the crazed streaks and blemishes.
The picture covers a region extending about 13.5 million miles
from the Sun (32 Solar Radii).
On June 25, after successfully completing its planned mission, contact with SOHO was lost -- but has recently been re-established! Hopefully SOHO will soon be able to continue operating in an extended mission phase.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.