A solar flare seen by the joint ESA/NASA SOHO mission, which reached its peak at about 04:13 UT on 5 March 2012. The flare caused a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), which was ejected toward Earth.
Update: According to analysts, the CME will probably miss Earth, although it will hit Mercury and Venus as you can see at the forecast track of the cloud.
A large solar flare erupted from the Sun earlier today, launching a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. This plasma ‘cloud’ is expected to pass Earth in 2 to 3 days, potentially causing increased nighttime auroras. No major effects on Earth are expected.
The solar flare occurred at about 05:05 CET today, and the resulting CME was detected by the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) instrument on board the ESA/NASA Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission.
The solar flare was categorised by scientists as an ‘X-class’ flare; these are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms.