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Vast solar tornado spins on the sun
A tremendous tornado whirling across the surface of the sun was captured by a NASA satellite recently -- an amazing wonder of the solar system that may be as big as the Earth itself.
The video was recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a sun-watching satellite that has transmitted a series of stunning photos of solar flares in recent months. The new video shows darker, cooler plasma shifting back and forth above the sun's surface over the span of nearly 30 hours stretching from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8.
And the giant tornado may be as large as the Earth itself, with gusts of up to 300,000 mph,
explained Terry Kucera, deputy SOHO project scientist and a solar physicist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Tornado Season On The Sun?
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Astronomers were given a spectacular show on the sun as a "solar tornado" made its way across the surface.
The footage, captured over a 30-hour period by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. captures the slow-moving solar flares as they danced across the surface.
The large solar "tornadoes" blasted across the surface of the sun on February 7 and 8, and are formed by the magnetic field created by the star.
"An active region rotating into view provides a bright backdrop to the gyrating streams of plasma," SDO mission scientists were quoted as saying on space.com. "The particles are being pulled this way and that by competing magnetic forces. They are tracking along strands of magnetic field lines."
A new on-line story telling program is coming soon in 2012. Topics to be covered include the constellations, zodiac, astrology, astronomy, space probes, history and the latest discoveries about the universe. Hosted by Hoku Kane, your ambassador to the stars. Sponsored by Stars Above Hawaii and the Stellar Express Moonlight Cafe.
Hubblecast 04: Hubble Finds Multiple Stellar 'Baby Booms' in a Globular Cluster
New Hubble observations of the massive globular cluster NGC 2808 provide evidence that it has three generations of stars instead of one as current theories predict.
Meet the Scientists:
Dr. Giampaolo Piotto
Dr. Piotto is a professor at the Astronomy Department at University of Padua (Università di Padova) in Italy. He is a researcher and an expert in globular clusters.
Link to Dr. Piotto's group page
Link to Dr. Piotto's MySpace Page
Dr. Luigi Bedin
Luigi BEDIN, or just quot;Rolly', is an Italian astronomer who does research in stellar populations and extrasolar planets. In his research he uses high precision astrometric and photometric techniques. Since September 2004 Rolly has been working at the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) in Garching, Germany, and recently he has joined the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, USA, as an European Space Agency (ESA) astronomer.
Link to Dr. Bedin's MySpace Page
Credit: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen), Daniel Verschatse - Observatorio Antilhue - Chile
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