Online Astronomy eText: The Sun
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     Left: The coronal mass ejection resulting from one of the most powerful flares ever observed (October 28, 2003). The flare came from the sunspot on the left side of the image below. The ejection was in the direction of the Earth, so it appears as though gas is being ejected from the Sun in all directions. The "noise" in the image after the flare was caused by protons moving at nearly the speed of light striking the SOHO satellite, which took these images. (SOHO Consortium, LASCO, ESA, NASA, apod031029)
     Right: A coronal mass ejection as seen from the side. On February 27, 2000 an eruptive prominence blasted an enormous bubble of magnetized plasma through the corona, creating a coronal hole. Such mass ejections occur as often as twice a day. In both images the position of the Sun is indicated by the white ring near the center of the image. (SOHO Consortium, ESA, NASA, apod000309)

Sunspot group 10486, on the left side of this image, was the site of the flare that caused the coronal mass ejection shown left above. (Juan Carlos Casado, apod031027)