NASA Spacecraft Watches as Sun Belches Spectacularly

On October 2, the Sun let loose with a bright flash of radiation — a solar flare — propelling a cloud of particles probably weighing a trillion tons or so out into space at a million miles per hour.

Solar flares and associated plasma belches likes this (the latter are known more properly as coronal mass ejections) are relatively common during the peak of the ~11-year solar cycle — which is occurring right now. The flare was moderate in magnitude (M7.3 class).

While the flare itself

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