New Solar Eruption: Fiery Rings and Giant Gas Loop Shooting Out From the Sun | b l o g o d r i l

24 April 2010

New Solar Eruption: Fiery Rings and Giant Gas Loop Shooting Out From the Sun

NASA's spacecraft has captured spectacular images of a solar eruption as fiery rings of ionised gas, the largest solar prominence in 15 years. The activity was caught on camera in extreme UV light as the prominence blasted away from the sun on April 12 and April 13. Prominences are confined by the sun's magnetic fields, whose origin and behaviour are not well understood. >>> Video New Solar Image in New Scientist.

The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), uses four telescopes to study the sun's surface and atmosphere. It caught a giant gas loop called a prominence shooting out from the sun on 30 March, here is the video:

A blast wave spread outward from the flare, heating and ejecting solar particles in an event called a coronal mass ejection (CME). A lot of material is thrown out into the solar wind. CME can be dangerous when they hit the Earth.

Intense radiation from the Sun, which arrives only 8 minutes after being released, can alter the Earth's outer atmosphere, disrupting long-distance radio communications. Very energetic particles pushed along by the shock wave of the CME can endanger astronauts or fry satellite electronics. These energetic particles arrive at the Earth (or Moon) about an hour later. The actual coronal mass ejection arrives at the Earth one to four days after the initial eruption, resulting in strong geomagnetic storms, aurorae and electrical power blackouts.

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