How did the Fastest Coronal Mass Ejection Ever Recorded by NASA Form?

On July 22, 2012, a massive cloud of solar material erupted off the sun’s right side, direction space. It was luckily recorded by one of NASA’s twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft along the way. The speed of this coronal mass ejection, or CME, was measured at an amazing 1,800 miles per second as it left the sun. This may be the fastest CME ever recorded.

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Image of the fastest solar coronal eruption on July 23, 2012, at 12:24 a.m. EDT

In a new paper published in Nature Communications and entitled Observations of an extreme storm in interplanetary space caused by successive coronal mass ejections, researchers give a possible explanation for this extreme solar storm:

We suggest that the in-transit interaction between two closely launched coronal mass ejections resulted in the extreme enhancement of the ejecta magnetic field observed near 1 AU at STEREO A […] These results provide a new view crucial to solar physics and space weather as to how an extreme space weather event can arise from a combination of solar eruptions.

Wow! This amazing solar eruption would have indeed been produced by two overlapping CMEs that occurred within a 10-15 minute interval. Incredible! Link to publication here.

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