3D Visualization of a Coronal Mass Ejection

A composite image from the SECCHI instruments onboard the STEREO-A and STEREO-B spacecraft of the coronal mass ejection (CME) from December (credit: doi:10.1038/ncomms1077)

Our good friends and colleagues at Trinity College Dublin have created a 3D visualization of the propagation of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Using multiscale image processing and 3D visualization the team reconstructed the trajectory of an earth-directed CME observed by the STEREO spacecraft. Their work has directly shown the complicated nature of a CME’s motion through space. They showed that a CME’s motion is affected by aerodynamic drag, at times accelerating while traveling in a zig zag not straight path. This work will allow scientists to better predict a CME’s path and arrival time strenghting the understanding of how and when such events can affect the earth. The findings are discussed in more detail in an article by Dr. Tony Phillips at NASA, Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters. Great job guys!!!!

Below is a movie of the 3D visualization.

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