Proton Storm Surge (September 5, 2014)
Hi-res TIF (3.4M)
A far-side powerful flare erupted and triggered a huge and long-lasting proton storm that flew past the STEREO Behind spacecraft on Labor Day, Sept. 1, 2014. The storm was so strong that it temporarily confused the star trackers on both STEREO spacecraft. The "snowstorm effect" that you see was caused by high-energy particles hitting the spacecraft's detectors in the SECCHI instrument's extreme ultraviolet and inner coronagraph telescopes' (EUVI and COR1). The moment when the star tracker on Behind resets is evident when the spacecraft starts rolling. The spacecraft uses SECCHI's guide telescope to keep locked on the Sun, but depends on the star tracker to determine its roll angle. Once the star tracker came back online, the spacecraft almost immediately moved back to its correct orientation. Credit: STEREO/NASA.
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