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Double whammy on the sun

A spectacular double eruption on the sun was captured today by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The eruptions happened nearly simultaneously on opposite sides of the solar disk, SpaceWeather.com reported. The plasma clouds produced by the event are expected to miss Earth, so there's no threat to us or to satellites orbiting the planet.

On the lower left in this image of the sun, a magnetic filament erupted, and on the upper right a departing sunspot produced the strongest solar flare of the year so far, an M1-class event. The double whammy may be more than a mere coincidence: Recent research suggests that solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over large distances, and that solar storms can go global.

For still more stunning views of the cosmos, check out the latest edition of Month in Space Pictures.


John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).