On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3.
Swirls of green and red appear in an aurora over Whitehorse, Yukon on the night of September 3, 2012. The aurora was due to a coronal mass ejection from the sun, which erupted on August 31.
Credit: Courtesy of David Cartier, Sr.