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.
“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.”
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.
And a quick closeup, if that’s not quite enough for you:
[Bad Astronomy, Universe Today]
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.
- Massive Solar Prominence Eruption Captured on Video (techeblog.com)
- An Enormous Eruption on the Sun (laughingsquid.com)
- Massive eruption on the sun yesterday means a solar storm zooming by Earth tomorrow [Video] (io9.com)
- Solar flare may bring northern lights to area sky (pennlive.com)
- Video captures massive solar explosion on our Sun (geek.com)
- Massive Explosion On the Sun (science.slashdot.org)
- Sun Unleashes ‘Spectacular’ & Powerful Eruption (livescience.com)
- The Sun Had a Solar Flare Today – Check it out (igoyougo.wordpress.com)
- Massive Solar Flare Leads to Biggest Eruption Ever Seen on Sun (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)