A sun-skimming spacecraft captured video of a massive plasma eruption on the solar surface for the first time

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The sun is constantly bubbling and bursting. If eruptions on its surface are big enough, they can send billions of tons of plasma and electrically charged particles hurtling toward Earth.

To observe and study those kinds of explosions – called coronal mass ejections – NASA and the European Space Agency launched the Solar Orbiter probe in February 2020.

The probe made a close approach to our star this year, on February 10, when it flew within 48 million miles (77 million kilometers) of the sun – half the distance between the sun and Earth. As it careened past the sun, back to cooler zones of space, the orbiter caught video footage of two CMEs.

To observe and study those kinds of explosions – called coronal mass ejections – NASA and the European Space Agency launched the Solar Orbiter probe in February 2020.

The probe made a close approach to our star this year, on February 10, when it flew within 48 million miles (77 million kilometers) of the sun – half the distance between the sun and Earth. As it careened past the sun, back to cooler zones of space, the orbiter caught video footage of two CMEs.


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