Week's Best Space Pictures: Galactic Scars, Glittery Nights, and El Gordo
The sun shows some flare, and the Milky Way splits the night sky in this week's best space pictures.
The sun ejects a mid-level flare, rated M6.5, on April 2. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the event in two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.
M-class flares are a tenth as powerful as X-class events, the most intense flares our sun spits out. The flare also created a coronal mass ejection, which occurs when the sun belches a plume of superheated gas. A flare aimed directly at Earth can cause significant damage to electrical systems and satellites. (See "Solar Flare: What if Biggest Known Sun Storm Hit Today?")
Released on April 2 by the La Silla Observatory in Chile, this composite image of two galaxies reveals two very different life histories. The small spiral galaxy on the right,