The Sun, after a long sleep, is finally waking up. And like any irascible sleeper vigorously throwing off the covers. In this case the covers are composed of high-energy electrons and protons being shot out into space at a tremendous rate. The image above, obtained by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on August 1, shows almost the entire earth-facing side of the sun erupting at once. In this extreme ultraviolet image you can see evidence of extremely ultraviolent activity: a C3-class solar flare (white area on upper left), a solar tsunami (upper right), multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, and a coronal mass ejection. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, showered the earth with charged particles, producing spectacular aurora (northern lights) as far south as Iowa and Telemark, Norway.
Published: August 9, 2010
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Sunday, 15-Aug-2010 22:13:05 EDT