High-energy "Snowstorm" (May 24, 2013)
Hi-res TIF (1.3M)
An M5 flare associated with a coronal mass ejection generated a fairly robust particle storm (May 22, 2013). The outburst originated from active region right near the right edge of the Sun. The snowstorm effect is caused by high-energy solar protons striking the CCD camera in SOHO's coronagraph. (SOHO is about one million miles towards the Sun from Earth.) Each strike produces a brief snow-like speckle in the image. This hailstorm of solar protons is what forecasters mean by "radiation storm."
In the coronagraph images, the Sun (represented by the white circle) is blocked out by an occulting disk so that we can observe activity beyond the Sun. Some effects of this storm on Earth could include navigational issues and satellite disruptions.
SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.