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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Jan 16, 2014

Coronal mass ejection and Venus on January 14

The image shows a coronal mass ejection, or CME, leaving the sun on January 14. The bright object in the top right is Venus.

Image credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO

Image via ESA/NASA/SOHO

The ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory acquired this image on January 14, 2014. It shows a coronal mass ejection, or CME, erupting away from the sun, hurtling solar particles into space. The sun is obscured to make the dimmer solar atmosphere more visible. In the top right, you can see planet Venus.

Coronal mass ejections are powerful eruptions on the sun’s surface.  Caused by instabilities in the sun’s magnetic field, they can launch a billion tons of superheated gas into space at over one million miles per hour. Here’s more: What is a coronal mass ejection or CME?

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