Pick of The Week
 
 

And a One and a Two... (May 6, 2005)


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It has been almost a year since we have seen a trio of solar storms as large as the one and then the two that occurred sequentially on May 2-3, 2005. As observed by the LASCO C3 coronagraph, the first, somewhat faint, coronal mass ejection (CME) first appears at 6:18 UT on May 2 and appears to emerge from the Sun in all directions, something we call a "halo" CME. At 16:18 UT the second CME begins to appear on the right, and while that is still visible, the third and largest CME of the three blasts out into space from the left at 23:18. The flow continues to be visible in the field of view for the next 16 hours or so.

It is downright uncommon to see the overlap in time of two different CMEs heading in opposite directions. CMEs carry billions of tons of matter into space at millions of miles per hour. All of these events were determined to have originated on the far side of the Sun and will generate no effects on Earth (such as aurora).

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