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The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this video of the M5.6 class solar flare that occurred on July 2, 2012. Credit: NASA/SDO
On July 2, 2012, an M5.6 class solar flare erupted in the sun's southern hemisphere from large sunspot AR1515, peaking at 6:52 AM EDT.
From a different spot, but on that same day, the sun unleashed a coronal mass ejection (CME) that began at 4:36 AM EDT. Models from the NASA's Space Weather Center at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, describe the CME at traveling at nearly 700 miles per second, but do not show it heading toward Earth.
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This view of the July 2, 2012 M5.6 class solar flare was captured by the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite. Credit: NASA/SDO
What is a solar flare? What is a coronal mass ejection?