You might be having a peaceful day here, but up above some serious solar violence just went down: an ejection of scorching plasma just erupted from the sun. That’s enough to burn its way across 10 Earths.
The eruption is what’s known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME, when the sun’s magnetic fields force out an unfathomably large amount of unfathomably hot gas: “A large CME can contain a billion tons of matter that can be accelerated to several million miles per hour in a spectacular explosion. Solar material streams out through the interplanetary medium, impacting any planet or spacecraft in its path,” explains NASA, who told us that this particular blast extended to the far reaches of our solar system.
But this mega-explosion didn’t just reach far in one direction — 10 earths is nothing. NASA’s Karen Fox said the “height” of the CME (from our perspective) was “25 earth radii high” — 319,000km. What you see above is the blast before it detached itself from the sun, rolling outward and onward. Wear your sunscreen. [NASA]