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National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Solar Storm seen by SOHO
News story originally written on April 10, 1997

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite took pictures of a large eruption that occurred on the Sun at 10:00am, Monday, April 7. The matter that was spewed out of the sun travelled through space in an interplanetary magnetic cloud. This magnetic cloud travels at over 1 500 000 miles per hour. A portion of this cloud struck Earth at 8:00pm last night, April 9.

The storm is of typical strength for the Sun, and the magnetic cloud has posed no danger to the Earth or those astronauts and cosmonauts at the Mir Space Station.

The storm is expected to increase auroral activity at high latitudes over the next few days. Solar storms sometimes knock out power grids and radios, though this one has not done so.

The solar eruption is called a coronal mass ejection. Coronal mass ejections blow a hole in the Sun's corona and spew out solar particles. The solar eruption was also included a solar flare eruption which caused the sun to experience a supersonic wave throughout its corona.

SOHO is a satellite that is about 900 000 miles from Earth. Its main mission is to study the sun. It takes photos of the sun and measures solar particles that may pass by the satellite.


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