On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space. A camera aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite captured this 200,000-mile filament right before it detached. This image is a blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths (and then cropped).
The coronal mass ejection travelled at over 900 miles per second, and although it did not travel directly at earth it did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere. This was observed as an aurora on the night of September 3.
Large version of the picture (1920 x 1080): Here
The full video in HD can be seen here:
Photo by NASA/GSFC/SDO