Magnetic fields on the sun’s northeastern limb erupted around 17:45 UT on April 16th, producing one of the most visually-spectacular explosions in years.
The explosion, which registered M1.7 on the Richter Scale of solar flares, was not Earth-directed, but it did hurl a CME into space. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab have analyzed the trajectory of the cloud and found that it will hit NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft, the Spitzer space telescope, and the rover Curiosity en route to Mars. Planets Venus and Mars could also receive a glancing blow.
A must-see video of the event. The video shows the explosion unfolding at 304 Angstroms, a wavelength which traces plasma with a temperature around 80,000 K.