A Massive Explosion on the Sun, With the Earth Shown at Scale

Itty-bitty planet

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On the last day of August at 4:36 in the afternoon EDT, a filament of solar material exploded out of the sun, hurtling into space at more than 900 miles a second. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the eruption in video and photographs and now, to give us a better idea of the scale of this thing (as though understanding it is even possible), NASA has added to the above picture an image of Earth shown at scale.

The ejection of solar plasma did not head directly toward our planet, but even the indirect effects were enough to cause a beautiful aurora on the night of September 3rd. NASA also provided a picture of that phenomenon, as seen from Whitehorse, Yukon, in Canada.

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A video from NASA (which we also posted here last week) shows the eruption in action.




H/t @edyong209

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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