A filament of magnetism connecting sunspots AR1538 and AR1540 rose up and erupted on August 4th. Look for the extreme UV glow of hot plasma in this clip of the ejection recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:
As the filament ripped through the sun's atmosphere, it propelled a massive CME into space: movie. The expanding cloud does not appear to be on a collision course with Earth, although a glancing blow might be possible 2 to 3 days hence. Stay tuned for further analysis.
It finally happened! A Coronal Mass Ejection blasted out from sunspots AR11538 and AR11540 with hot plasma scorching the sun's atmosphere as it burst into space.
We had waited, anticipated, calculated but the sun remained calm, on our side that is.
In fact the sun was active throughout each day from sunrise to sunset but because it is solar maximum a certain bar has been raised of expectancy in each of us to see the massive Class X Flares and since it is after all the formidable 2012 -- doomsday -- the time of reckoning -- the end of the world as we know it, the prophecies of many new and ancient. Preachers hollering from their pulpit "I'll guarantee you the raptor if only you'll sign this cheque right here or even a Will would do, but the sun remained calm.
So who and what can we blame the last several miserable days of this heat wave on? Earthquakes? Flooding the sun is to blame?
ScienceCasts: Mars Landing Sky Show
On the same night Curiosity lands on Mars, a "Martian Triangle" will appear in sunset skies of Earth. The first-magnitude apparition on August 5th gives space fans something to do while they wait for news from the Red Planet.
NASA Portal for Mars: http://www.nasa.gov/mars
Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for more.