NASA: The Difference Between Solar Flares and CME
Nope. Not the same phenomenon. Both are solar events, but there are major differences in their speeds and how they can affect Earth. This 2-minute video from NASA clarifies the distinction.
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NASA ScienceCasts: Carrington Class CME Narrowly Misses Earth
This compelling 4-minute video shows images of a massive CME event that narrowly missed Earth in 2012. If the CME had been on a direct path to Earth, it could've inflicted catastrophic damage to our power grids, GPS, internet, and electronic systems on Earth. That's one reason scientists carefully monitor solar phenomena.
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NASA: Many Views of a Massive CME
This 3-minute video provides multiple views of a massive coronal mass ejection that occurred on July 23, 2012, clocked as traveling between 1,800 and 2,000 miles/second. Fortunately, the CME was on a trajectory away from Earth. Through another quirk of luck, the CME erupted in a location where it could be tracked by three solar observatory spacecraft, giving us an excellent image set of how large-scale, very high-speed CMEs behave.
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NASA Goddard: Comparing CMEs
Scientists have modeled two CME events in this 2-minute video: 1) a moderate CME that occurred in 2006, and 2) A much larger Carrington-Class CME, modeled after the one that directly hit Earth in 1859. Notice the difference in Earth's magnetic field with both models as the CME gets close. As the leading edge of the CME encounters the outer limit of our magnetosphere, a huge-scale Carrington Class CME is capable of greatly distorting our magnetic field. In 1859, the event took out telegraph lines across North America, Europe, and the Atlantic ocean.
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