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The Dark Shows the Light May 9, 2006

Posted by jtintle in NASA, SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun.
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Hi-res TIF image ( 2.2M)

Movies:
MPEG: Large ( 1.4M) Small ( 512k)
Quicktime: Large ( 413k), Small ( 129k)

A small flare and associated coronal mass ejection (CME) were observed on May 1, 2006. The still image shows the flare near its peak of activity as an intensely white area at the lower end of the active region on the right of the pair of active regions (it looks like a backwards 7). The video covers a 13-hour period and is especially good at showing the dimming of the region south of the event. This is caused by the sudden but temporary release of charged particles from that area. Brighter post coronal loops can be seen coiled over the source of the flare after the events. Flares are the most powerful events in the solar system, since power is measured by the release of energy, in this case radiative energy, per unit time. This event, however, was a rather weak, "C-class" flare.

The CME was most probably associated with this flare. A CME is a lower power event because it occurs over a much longer time period, but carries lots of mechanical (kinetic) and magnetic (potential) energy). In fact CMEs blast out over a billion of tons of particles at millions of miles per hour.

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