Horizon (night lights of the cities of Ireland, in the foreground, and the United Kingdom, in the back and to the right, are contrasted by the bright sunrise in the background. The greens and purples of the Aurora Borealis are seen along the rest of the horizon.) | Image Credit: NASA
On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3. (source: NASA)
Arc of Light - Astrophotographer Mike Killian took this photo from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Aug. 24, 2012, as the Atlas 5 rocket shot off to explore Earth's Van Allen radiation belts.