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<The Surprising Shape of Solar Storms ⁄ >

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Researchers studying data from NASA's twin STEREO probes have found that ferocious solar storms called CMEs (coronal mass ejections) are shaped like a French pastry. The elegance and simplicity of the new "croissant model" is expected to dramatically improve forecasts of severe space weather.

"We believe we can now predict when a CME will hit Earth with only 3-hours of uncertainty," says Angelos Vourlidas of the Naval Research Lab, who helped develop the model. "That's a four-fold improvement over older methods."

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