NASA’s fleet of spacecraft observing the sun have sent back fascinating and beautiful video from the most recent coronal mass ejection, when a massive burst of matter and magnetic fields shoot out from the star into space.
Four spacecraft recorded the eruption in the extreme ultraviolet band of the electromagnetic spectrum over the course of 2.5 hours. The space agency says CMEs typically eject more than one billion tons of particles at a speed faster than one million miles per hour.
The sun shot out a torrent of charged particles on March 15 in an event called a coronal mass ejection (CME). The eruption, which occurred at 3:24 a.m. EDT, sent what might have amounted to billions of tons of electrons and protons streaming toward the Earth at 900 miles per second, NASA says.
(The ESA and NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these images of the sun spitting out the March 15 CME. This type of image is known as a coronagraph, since a disk is placed over the sun to better see the dimmer atmosphere around it, called the corona. Courtesy ESA&NASA/SOHO)
The space agency produced a space weather research model, below, to simulate the CME’s path. It repeats the ejection four times. On the left is a top-down view of the inner solar system. The right shows Earth from the side as the simulated CME passes it.
Our cups ran over with the many beautiful and amazing images scientists and satellites captured this year when they looked around and out from Earth. From things microscopic to those light years across, and from morning coffee to the deep recesses scattered around the universe, we bring you some of our favorite science pictures created in 2012.
These are in no particular order and by no means inclusive of all the best.
1. The first, above, comes from Hinode - a joint JAXA/NASA mission to study the connections of the sun’s surface magnetism. The project brings us this unique image of the transit of Venus between the Earth and sun, the once-in-a-lifetime event that occurred on June 5. Courtesy: JAXA/NASA/Lockheed Martin.
Click through to see the rest.
Two pioneering Swiss pilots stood at the center of a soirée held this week in the Consul General of Switzerland’s posh New York City pad overlooking Park Avenue.
They were in town drumming up support for an ambitious project in two parts—first, in 2013, to fly across the United States and then, in 2015, to make it around the world.
These goals won’t win them any spots on world record lists, of course, since many flyers do both every day. And they have for a long time: aviator Calbraith Perry Rodgers was the first to cross the U.S. in 1911 and a U.S. Army Air Service team was the first to go round the world in 1924.
If they are successful, the part they’ll be going down in the history books for is that they will accomplish both feats without fuel. Their project is called “Solar Impulse: Around the World in a Solar Airplane.”