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Sunspot Loops in Ultraviolet June 11, 2006

Posted by jtintle in NASA, Planets, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Sun, Sun Spot.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.



It was a quiet day on the Sun. The above image shows, however, that even during off days the Sun's surface is a busy place. Shown in ultraviolet light, the relatively cool dark regions have temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. Large sunspot group AR 9169 is visible as the bright area near the horizon. The bright glowing gas flowing around the sunspots has a temperature of over one million degrees Celsius. The reason for the high temperatures is unknown but thought to be related to the rapidly changing magnetic field loops that channel solar plasma. Sunspot group AR 9169 moved across the Sun during 2000 September and decayed in a few weeks.


Elongated Coronal Hole December 31, 2005

Posted by jtintle in NASA, SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun, Sun Spot.
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Hi-res TIF image ( 3.4M)

Image Credit: SOHO

Explanation: The Earth was bathed most of this last week in a solar stream that flowed out of this long coronal hole (image from December 27, 2005). Coronal holes appear as dark area of the corona when viewed in ultraviolet light and in X-rays (seen here traversing down the upper half of the Sun in ultraviolet light). This coronal hole area is one of the largest ones seen over the past year. Since coronal holes are ‘open’ magnetically, strong solar wind gusts can escape from them and carry solar particles out to our magnetosphere and beyond. Solar wind streams take 2 – 3 days to travel from the Sun to Earth, and the coronal holes in which they originate are more likely to affect Earth after they have rotated more than halfway around the visible hemisphere of the Sun. This same hole could reappear when the Sun rotates this area around again in about two weeks.

The magnetic field lines in a coronal hole open out into the solar wind rather than connecting to a nearby part of the Sun’s surface. Coronal holes are responsible for the high-speed solar wind streams that sweep through the plane where the planets orbit — and thus have a direct affect on “space weather” near the Earth. Transequatorial holes like this one affect the earth’s magnetosphere directly. Thus, many people living at the higher latitudes probably experienced mild geo-effective storming for these few days in the form of aurora displays.


Now There’s One November 22, 2005

Posted by jtintle in SOHO, Space Fotos, Sun, Sun Spot.
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Hi-res TIF image ( 2.1M)

Movies MPEG: Large ( 1.8M), Small ( 512k)
Quicktime: Large ( 483k), Small ( 119k) The Sun had a rather blank look on its face for days and days over the past several weeks or so, just quietly rotating without much to offer in the way of interesting phenomena like solar prominences, sunspots, or storms. Then, a single, lone, and rather large active region rotated into view on 12 November 2005. In visible light it appears as a black spot, but in extreme ultraviolet light as seen above, it appears white, indicating intensity of magnetic activity. It extends nearly 140,000 km, about the diameter of Jupiter. In fact, the active region has been spouting off a series of moderate (M-class) flares. As solar rotation continues to bring it towards the center of the Sun over the next few days, it could provide the spark for some Earth-directed “space weather.” Stay tuned.

A Sunspot Up Close November 7, 2005

Posted by jtintle in APoD, Space Fotos, Sun, Sun Spot, Vacuum Tower Telescope.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Credit : Vacuum Tower Telescope, NSO, NOAO

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