There Was a Massive Solar Explosion


Regular readers know that CMOS can’t get enough of huge explosions on the surface of the sun. That puts us in a pretty good place right now, considering the current solar cycle is moving into a period of increased explosive activity. For those who might not understand why we love solar explosions, this video of this morning’s massive solar flare and ensuing solar prominence should reveal all.


EV Lacertae

Image via Wikipedia


“I’ve never seen material released like this before, such a huge amount that falls back down in such a spectacular way,” says Goddard Spaceflight Center’s Dr. C. Alex Young in the first video below, in which he does a thorough job of explaining exactly what you’re looking at. “It looks like someone just kicked a giant clod of dirt into the air and it fell back down.”


First Solar Radiation Storm of Solar Cycle 24 ...

Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr


Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy figures that–and he’s just eyeballing/ballparking this thing here–that something like a billion tons of material was thrust away from the sun before collapsing magnificently back to the surface. This wasn’t the most colossal flare we’ve ever witnessed, or even the most powerful one we’ve seen this year (it ranked as an M2.5, or medium-sized flare, in terms of energy). But the view, courtesy of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, is spectacular.


Filament erupting during a solar flare, seen a...

Image via Wikipedia


And a quick closeup, if that’s not quite enough for you:

[Bad Astronomy, Universe Today]

via Video: This Morning There Was a Massive Solar Explosion | Popular Science.


A Solar Flare, image taken by the TRACE satell...

Image via Wikipedia

On Tuesday, the biggest solar flare in four years erupted from the sun, sending a mass of charged particles hurtling towards Earth. NASA announced that it was an M-2 (medium-sized) flare and an S1-class (minor) radiation storm. The electromagnetic pulse it induced created amazing auroras, but it could also damage satellites and radio communications. What would happen with an even stronger, larger flare? Something terrible…
On Sunday, sunspot number 1092 emitted a C-class solar flare–not a large one, by solar flare standards. But NASA scientists were intrigued by what accompanied it–an unusually fast corona mass ejection that sent a large cloud of charged plasma toward Earth. There will be no adverse effects here on Earth–other than increased aurora activity.
This shot was captured by Jesper Grønne in Denmark, and was posted on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory blog.
You can read more about the flare here.

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