Astrophotographer Chuck Ayoub is no stranger to breathtaking footage of the stars. Now, Ayoub, who shares his work across multiple social media sites, has captured yet another beautiful and terrifying video of a coronal mass ejection on our Sun. Ayoub shared the video on Instagram and Reddit, even adding in an Earth-sized image to help showcase the sheer size of the ejection.
The coronal mass ejection video was captured over one hour and 15 minutes, Ayoub shared in his Reddit post. He then sped up the video to around five seconds so that viewers could watch the action play out much faster.
Coronal mass ejections like the one captured in this video are not uncommon on the Sun, especially during our star’s current point of activity. The Sun follows an 11-year solar cycle, and right now it’s reaching the peak of its activity along that cycle. This has resulted in multiple solar flares and coronal mass ejections being released from our star.
But capturing these coronal mass ejections, and even solar flares, on video isn’t easy. It requires specialized equipment to reject the energy and radiation emitted by the Sun. While looking at the Sun through a telescope would normally cause unrepairable damage to your eyes, this specialized equipment allows astrophotographers to capture videos of the Sun’s activity.
You can see the video for yourself above. Ayoub has previously shared videos of solar eruptions like this, too, and so have others like Andrew McCarthy, another well-known astrophotographer who recently had an image shortlisted in the 2022 Astronomy Photographer of the Year.
Coronal mass ejections as well as solar flares are both extremely dangerous to Earth, too. When their energy hits the Earth’s magnetosphere, it can cause global storms that can knock out GPS and other communication systems. But, being able to see coronal mass ejections like this captured on video gives us a chance to appreciate not only the beauty but also the terror these events bring.