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Dragon Tail Filament Erupts February 1, 2013

Posted by jtintle in Planets.
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Description:

A long and complex strand of plasma hanging above the Sun’s surface erupted (Jan. 31, 2013) as a long loop that stretched and broke apart as it burst into space. Much of the material actually fell back into Sun unable to break free of the Sun’s gravity. The images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light (304 Angstroms). The movie covers about six hours of activity. We called it a ‘dragon tail filament’ because before it erupted, it did resemble one. Plasma is a hot gas composed of electrically charged hydrogen and helium.
Another version shown below combines the 304 Angstrom wavelength with the 193 Angstrom, which offers better detail of the motions of the filament before it breaks away.

Credit:

Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA, the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams

 

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Roger! We Have a Liftoff! January 28, 2013

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Description:

A solar prominence arched up and then erupted out from near the Sun’s surface (Jan. 23, 2013). SDO observed the event, also associated with a coronal mass ejection, in extreme ultraviolet light as it evolved over seven hours. The strand of solar plasma appeared to perform a somersault as it expanded and disappeared into space. The disruption to the magnetic fields in the area generated the coiling and spreading wave-like action below the site of the event. Solar prominences are unstable clouds of cooler gases suspended above the Sun’s surface by magnetic forces

Credit:

Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA, the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams

Burst around the Corner January 6, 2012

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Burst around the Corner

Description:

The Sun erupted with a good-sized solar flare and a coronal mass ejection (CME) on its far-side beyond the view of SDO, but the resulting strands of particle clouds as seen in extreme ultraviolet light still made for quite a show that lasted about three hours (Jan. 2, 2011). Note how a portion of the strands fall back to the Sun. It appears the force of the blast was unable, for some portion of the material, to overcome the pull of the Sun’s magnetic fields. This blast was not directed at Earth.

Credit:

SDO

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A Prominent Solar Prominence from SOHO March 17, 2009

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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit:

SOHOEIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation:

What’s happened to our Sun? It was sporting a spectacular — but not very unusual — solar prominence. A solar prominence is a cloud of solar gas held above the Sun’s surface by the Sun’s magnetic field. In 2004, NASA’s Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft imaged an impressively large prominence hovering over the surface, pictured above. The Earth would easily fit under the hovering curtain of hot gas. A quiescent prominence typically lasts about a month, and may erupt in a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) expelling hot gas into the Solar System. Although somehow related to the Sun’s changing magnetic field, the energy mechanism that creates and sustains a Solar prominence is still a topic of research.

Spicules: Jets on the Sun November 9, 2008

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

Credit:

SST, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, LMSAL

Explanation:

Imagine a pipe as wide as a state and as long as half the Earth. Now imagine that this pipe is filled with hot gas moving 50,000 kilometers per hour. Further imagine that this pipe is not made of metal but a transparent magnetic field. You are envisioning just one of thousands of young spicules on the active Sun. Pictured above is perhaps the highest resolution image yet of these enigmatic solar flux tubes. Spicules dot the above frame of solar active region 10380 that crossed the Sun in 2004 June, but are particularly evident as a carpet of dark tubes on the right. Time-sequenced images have recently shown that spicules last about five minutes, starting out as tall tubes of rapidly rising gas but eventually fading as the gas peaks and falls back down to the Sun. These images also indicate that the ultimate cause of spicules is sound-like waves that flow over the Sun‘s surface but leak into the Sun‘s atmosphere.

Unfurling October 19, 2008

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Solar Prominence Eruption
Credit:

NASA

Description:

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft observed this visually stunning prominence eruption on Sept. 29, 2008, in the 304 angstrom wavelength of extreme UV light. Prominences are relatively cool clouds of gas suspended above the sun and controlled by magnetic forces.

The prominence rose and cascaded to the right over several hours, appearing something like a flag unfurling, as it broke apart and headed into space. The prominence is composed of ionized Helium that is about 60,000 degrees Kelvin

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A Darkened Sky September 24, 2008

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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit & Copyright:

Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology), Peter Aniol, Vojtech Rusin

Explanation:

For a moment on August 1st, the daytime sky grew dark along the path of a total solar eclipse. While watching the geocentric celestial event from Mongolia, photographer Miloslav Druckmuller recorded multiple images with two separate cameras as the Moon blocked the bright solar disk and darkened the sky. This final composition consists of 55 frames ranging in exposure time from 1/125 to 8 seconds. It spans nearly 12 degrees, with the relative position of the Moon and Sun corresponding to mid-eclipse. On the left is bright planet Mercury, but many stars are also visible, including the Praesepe star cluster (also known as M44 or the Beehive cluster) in Cancer, above and to the right of the silhouetted Moon. Remarkably, the nearly perfect conditions and wide range in individual exposures allow the composite picture to register the lunar surface and follow the delicate solar corona out to a distance of nearly 20 times the radius of the Sun. In fact, the composite presents a range in brightness beyond what the eye could see during the eclipse.

A Different View of the Sun August 7, 2008

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Image Credit:

NASA

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Description:

This photo shows a view of the sun from Baja California during an eclipse on July 11, 1991, with the moon sliding in front of the sun.

On Aug. 1, 2008 a total solar eclipse was visible in parts of Canada, northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia and China. The eclipse swept across Earth in a narrow path that began in Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut and ended in northern China’s Silk Road region. Unfortunately, the eclipse was not visible in most of North America.

For more information on the latest eclipse, visit www.nasa.gov/eclipse.

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Solar Tornadoes January 10, 2007

Posted by jtintle in Space Fotos, Sun.
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Credit:

left, G. Scharmer, L. Rouppe van der Voort (KVA ) et al., SVST: right, copyright 2001, Reel EFX. Inc

Description:

As Fred Hoyle long ago pointed out; the Sun does not conform to the expected behavior of an internally heated ball of gas, simply radiating its energy into space. Instead, its behavior at every level is complex and baffling. Nowhere is it more mysterious than in a sunspot.
Sunspots are strange blemishes on the face of the Sun that offer some of the strongest evidence against the Sun being powered internally. They are conventionally described as being a result of strong magnetic fields pinching off the convection of heat from inside the Sun before it can reach the surface.

The electric star interpretation is that sunspots are breaks in the hot surface of the sun, through which we can get a glimpse of the underlying layers. To satisfy the standard theory, these deeper layers of the Sun should be hotter to drive the so-called vigorous convection. But they aren’t. The dark center of the sunspot, or umbra, is 20% cooler than the rest of the surface of the Sun.

The outer shadow of the sunspot, or penumbra, and the structure and behavior of the filaments that form the penumbra are also too complex to be explained by standard stellar theory.

There is a temptation for plasma researchers to simply equate the penumbral filaments with gargantuan lightning bolts, but the features do not match all that well. A typical lightning flash lasts for 0.2 seconds and covers a distance of about 10 km. The penumbral filaments last for at least one hour and are of the order of 1000 km long. If we could scale a lightning bolt 100 times we might have a flash that lasted between 20 and 200 seconds and was 1000 km long. The lifetime is too short. Also, measurements of scars on lightning conductors show that the lightning channel is only about 5 mm wide. Scaling that by 100 times would have solar lightning channels far below the limit of telescopic resolution

However, there is another familiar form of atmospheric electric discharge that does scale appropriately and could explain the mysterious dark cores of penumbral filaments. It is the tornado! Tornadoes last for minutes and can have a diameter of the order of one kilometer. Scale those figures up 100 times and we match penumbral filaments very well. And if the circulating cylinder of plasma is radiating heat and light, as we see on the Sun, then the solar “tornado” will appear, side on, to have bright edges and a dark core (right image, above).

XRT Observes Corona of Million Degrees January 6, 2007

Posted by jtintle in Space Fotos, Sun.
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Credit:

ISAS/JAXA, NAOJ/NINS, NASA, PPARC

Description:

In the press conference held on 20 December 2006, latest data and movie from X-Ray Telescope (XRT) had been released. XRT observes corona of million degrees. It is still a mystery how the corona is heated to that high temperature. This movie show activity of solar corona for 12 days. An active region goes behind the west limb while another one comes from east limb. Ubiquitous small brightenings suggest magnetic activity is taking place all around the Sun.

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