“Canyon of Fire” CME

April 3, 2022: A filament of magnetism whipsawed out of the sun’s atmosphere today. On the way out it carved a gigantic canyon of fire. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the eruption:

The glowing walls of the canyon are at least 20,000 km high and 10 times as long. They trace the channel where the filament (R.I.P.) was previously suspended by magnetic forces inside the sun’s atmosphere.

Debris from the explosion formed a slow-moving coronal mass ejection (CME), shown here in a movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO):

The CME is not squarely Earth-directed. The bulk of the cloud is expected to miss. However, there is clearly a small Earth-directed component, which could sideswipe our planet’s magnetic field on April 7th. (Update: It arrived on April 8th instead.)

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