25 August 2016 - Mission Day: 7573 - DOY: 238

CMEs in 3D

Click on images for larger versions/individual captions

Classical 3-part CME

Classical 3-part CME

Classical 3-part CME, heading 90° away from Earth

Topographic map of the lower end of a CME heading towards Earth

Movie: MPEG showing a 3D rendering of the data in the above right image. It starts out viewing the Sun from SOHO's perspective, then rotates the scene to view the data from the side, and finally from the top. Note that one distinct feature shown at about 11 o'clock in in the image above has been left out of the movie, because it is a static structure and not a part of the CME.

Using data from the LASCO coronagraph, scientists have produced the first three-dimensional views of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). This new result is critical for a complete understanding of these dramatic phenomena.

To fully understand the origin of these powerful blasts and the process that launches them from the Sun, scientists need to see the structure of CMEs in three dimensions. "Views in three dimensions will help us to better predict CME arrival times and impact angles at the Earth," says Dr. Thomas Moran, Catholic University, Washington, USA.

In collaboration with Dr. Joseph Davila, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA, Moran has analysed two-dimensional images from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) in a new way to yield 3D images.

Their technique is able to reveal the complex and distorted magnetic fields that travel with the CME cloud and sometimes interact with the Earth's own magnetic field, pouring tremendous amounts of energy into the space near Earth.

The result is published in the 2 July 2004 issue of Science magazine. Read more by following the links below:

Related links

Picture credits: SOHO/LASCO and SOHO/MDI (ESA & NASA) Instrument: LASCO (Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph)


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