Sun releases slow moving CME

November 12, 2012 by Karen C. Fox
On the left is an image of a CME from Nov. 9, 2012, as captured by the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) at 10:48 a.m. EST. The CME can be seen as the light band that appears to be spreading away from the dark disk at the center, which is used to block the bright light from the sun in order to observe the dimmer solar atmosphere. The right image is what’s called a “difference” image, which helps highlights recent changes in any given image, thus making the CME stand out. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO/GSFC

On Nov. 9, 2012, at 10:24 a.m. EST, the sun emitted an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME). A CME is a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later. CMEs can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground.

Experimental NASA research models based on observations from NASA's (STEREO) and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) show that the CME left the sun traveling at 350 miles per second, which is a slow to average speed for CMEs.

Geomagnetic storms can occur when certain types of CMEs connect up with the outside of the Earth's magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time. In the past CMEs of this magnitude have tended to have a relatively weak impact, perhaps causing auroras near the poles, but not causing damage to electrical systems on Earth or interfering with GPS or satellite-based communications systems.

NOAA's Center ( is the United States Government official source for space weather forecasts.

Updates will be provided as needed.

Explore further: Sun spits out a coronal mass ejection

More information: What is a CME? For answers to this and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page.

Related Stories

NASA sees sun unleash a wide, but benign, CME

September 28, 2012

The sun erupted with a wide, Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) on Sept. 27, 2012 at 10:25 p.m. EDT. CMEs are a phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space that can reach Earth one to three ...

Solar flares: What does it take to be X-class?

August 10, 2011

Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space. These flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The number of ...

Six coronal mass ejections in 24 hours

September 22, 2011

The sun let loose with at least six coronal mass ejections (CMEs) -- solar phenomena that can send solar particles into space and affect electronic systems in satellites -- from 7 PM ET on September 18, 2011 until 1 PM on ...

STEREO spots a CME soaring into space

September 11, 2012

The enormous eruption of a solar prominence and resulting coronal mass ejection (CME) back on August 31 that was captured in amazing HD by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory was also spotted by the Sun-flanking STEREO-B spacecraft, ...

Scientists weather a space storm to find its origin

August 2, 2005

A team of researchers from the UK and France used SOHO, ACE and the four Cluster spacecraft to study a huge eruption on the Sun, tracing its progress from birth to when it reached Earth.

Recommended for you

Gaia spies two temporarily magnified stars

October 28, 2016

While scanning the sky to measure the position of over one billion stars in our Galaxy, ESA's Gaia satellite has detected two rare instances of stars whose light was temporarily boosted by other celestial objects passing ...

More than 15,000 near-Earth objects and counting

October 28, 2016

The international effort to find, confirm and catalogue the multitude of asteroids that pose a threat to our planet has reached a milestone: 15 000 discovered – with many more to go.

How planets like Jupiter form

October 28, 2016

Young giant planets are born from gas and dust. Researchers of ETH Zürich and the Universities of Zürich and Bern simulated different scenarios relying on the computing power of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.