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Spectacular burst on the Sun

News and events from around the world

Spectacular burst on the Sun

Postby Charles » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:55 pm


Ancient peoples dreamed of seeing what we are able to see in this age...


Solar eruption creates spectacular 'sun tentacle'

NASA spacecraft records tendril of magnetic plasma as it flies off into space

A NASA spacecraft watching the sun has caught a dazzling view of a solar eruption that launched a vast tendril of magnetic plasma into space.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the sun tentacle, which scientists call a solar prominence, on March 19 as it erupted into space with a rounded, twisting motion.

The eruption occurred over five hours as SDO watched the sun in the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum, SDO mission scientists said in a statement. The solar observatory watched as the prominence twisted up from the sun and expanded, then became unstable.

Ultimately, the sun filament lost cohesion and its particles streamed away from the sun.

"Prominences are elongated clouds of plasma that hover above the sun's surface, tethered by magnetic forces," SDO mission scientists explained.

The sun is currently in the midst of an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle and has kicked up a series of powerful eruptions and flares in recent months. The SDO spacecraft and other space observatories are keeping a close watch on the sun to monitor its solar weather activity.


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