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Discovered using NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory satellite, this colossal twisting mass is made up of superheated gas at a temperature of between 90,000 and 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit.
Over the course of three hours, this behemoth reached up from the sun's surface to a height of 125,000 miles, or roughly half the distance between the Earth and the moon. The hot gases were whipped up to nearly 186,000 miles per hour. In comparison, the wind speed of terrestrial tornadoes generally reaches a paltry 100 miles per hour.
Scientists have previously seen smaller solar tornadoes with other sun-observing satellites but this one — spotted in September 2011 — is thought to be the first one ever filmed (left). Since then, researchers have seen at least one more solar tornado, an Earth-sized twister seen in the video below.
These tornadoes often precede events known as coronal mass ejections — huge eruptions of charged particles that blast out of the sun's surface with tremendous energy. Such flare-ups are thought to be related to interactions among the sun's magnetic field lines, whose corkscrewing movements also shape the solar tornado.
The top images and movie were presented at the National Astronomy Meeting 2012 in Manchester, England on Mar. 29.
also watch: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL20C572EB49403155&feature=view_all
Today's M2.6-class Solar Flare produced a nice Coronal Mass Ejection, which appears to be Earth directed. Current forecasts have it to arrive on January 21, 2012 at approx. 22:30 UT (let's give or take 7 hours... it's over 90 million mile journey after all).
Our friends at the NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab are predicting possible strong geomagnetic storms. What will it mean for us? Possibly some Aurorea and perhaps some communications interruption. No major issues are expected.
A view of the Active Regions 1401 and 1402 over the past couple of days shows the development of those beautiful sunspots. Then two views of the solar flare through the SDO instrument before concluding with views from STEREO Ahead and Behind.
Credit: NASA SDO & NASA STEREO
Part 2 of a video by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) showing the technical facilities of the institute to the Visiting Committee in 2007. source- http://www.mpe.mpg.de/main.html
Part 1 of a video by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) showing the technical facilities of the institute to the Visiting Committee in 2007. source- http://www.mpe.mpg.de/main.html