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NASA sees Earth-directed coronal mass ejection erupt from Sun
[January 31, 2013]

NASA sees Earth-directed coronal mass ejection erupt from Sun

WASHINGTON, Jan 31, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Sun erupted with an Earth- directed coronal mass ejection, or CME, at 2:09 a.m. EST (0609 GMT) on Thursday morning, U.S. space agency NASA announced.

Experimental NASA research models, based on observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, and Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, show that the CME left the sun at speeds of around 575 miles per second, which is a fairly typical speed for CMEs. Historically, CMEs at this speed are mild, NASA said in a statement.

A CME is a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and reach Earth one to three days later.

Earth-directed CMEs can cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm, which occurs when they connect with the outside of the Earth's magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time. In the past, similar CMEs have caused auroras near the poles but didn't disrupt electrical systems on Earth or interfere with GPS or satellite-based communications systems.

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